Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from May, 2016

How To Handle Co-workers Who Share Other Co-worker's News

You're eating lunch with a co-worker who reveals something very private about another co-worker.

This co-worker isn't spreading false gossip; in this case, the news is true. It's just that the colleague who is the subject of the gossip didn't get to share the news themselves, and on their own timeline.

Thanks in part to social media, we're losing the ability to see the difference between the news that is ours to share, and the news that is not our news to share. It's how we get the co-worker who gives us a verbal breaking news alert about another colleague before they've had a chance to tell us themselves, in their own words, and in their own time (and sometimes, that time might have been never).

Hey, I got the promotion! Why don't you look surprised?

Think of it as the in-person workplace version of the mother-in-law who announces her daughter-in-law's pregnancy on social media before daughter-in-law gets to announce it herself. Or the "frie…

We Feel For the Ill, But Not For the Unemployed

Who do you feel more sorry for: somebody who is sick, or somebody who is unemployed?

A new study finds we have much less sympathy for the unemployed, and this attitude has been hard-wired into our human brains over thousands of years!

Illness and unemployment represent two big risks humans face on a daily basis, but our societies handle the ramifications of these risks very differently. Healthcare costs tend to spiral out of control, while unemployment benefits tend to be tightly controlled when we're in free fall.


Political science researchers at Denmark's Aarhus University looked to the United States, Denmark and Japan to analyze our "implicit intuitions" regarding unemployment benefits versus healthcare benefits. The researchers conclude that the human condition shaped over centuries has conditioned us to view ill people as being unlucky in life. From the press release:

"For millions of years, a need for health care reflected accidents such as broken legs or…

Trump Card: How To Make the Most of Your Outsider Status At Work

2016 is the Year of the Outsider in politics. Voters want to shake things up, and how! It's out with the old, and in with the new. But how can you make the most of your outsider status at work?

From temporary workers to independent contractors to the stoic Lone Ranger in need of a Tonto, the workplace is filled with outsiders. These employees feel like they haven't quite been fully welcomed into the company tent, so to speak. Instead of feeling embraced by their peers, they feel kept at arm's length.

Is it their employment status, their personality, their appearance, their age, their gender, their background, their ideas, their sense of independence from group-think, their avoidance of the company holiday party, or something else? Sometimes it can be hard to know. What these employees do know, however, is that no matter how hard they try, they just don't seem to fit into the office toolbox. Hey, if the shoe fits, right?


This topic has been brewing in the back of my mi…

With Workplace Fashion, Are We Dressed To Kill the Deal?

When was the last time you washed your favorite hoodie? You know, the one you wear to your white-collar office job every other day? You think I'm joking, but a recent Regus survey finds that Casual Friday is not only worldwide, it's 3-6-5!

Our global economy feels like a race to the bottom, and now our workplace fashion sense is going down the drain, too. Regus surveyed 40,000 global employees from 100 countries for their current take on workplace dress codes, and almost three-fourths (74%) think the suit and tie is far "too formal" for work. Even a decent percentage of bankers -- bankers! -- are shedding the suit and tie as they hide money offshore.

The good news? Only 14% of global survey participants think flip-flops are okay to wear to work. Unless one lives in South Korea, however, where three-fourths of those surveyed think flip-flops are just fine for the office. Also, do you know that employees in China are partial to track suits? Track suits are office-read…

SAHMs Who Explain Resume Gap Increase Their Hiring Chances

You've taken a gap year (or an entire decade) to be a stay-at-home mom. Now you'd like to get back to the office. But should you ever explain the glaring SAHM gap on your resume?

Most career websites and recruiters would advise against it. Don't tell, and the confused employer likely won't ask. A new Vanderbilt University study, however, finds that explaining a lengthy resume gap can actually improve a SAHM's chances of getting hired! From the Vanderbilt press release:

"Our study provides the first-ever evidence that women who conceal personal information dramatically lower their hiring prospects," said Joni Hersch, professor of law and economics at Vanderbilt Law School.

"Employers overwhelmingly preferred to hire candidates who provided information to explain a resume gap, regardless of content. Any information that could flesh out a woman's job history and qualifications improved employment prospects relative to no explanation for an otherwise …

Humans Can't Juggle More Than 5 Friends At Once

Just as you're deciding whether or not to connect with somebody you don't know on LinkedIn, here comes new research that finds we humans can't handle more than five "friends" at once!

That's right: we humans can only handle so much "social" in our social networking. This finding isn't new -- one study found we can't handle more than 132 social media connections, max -- but now researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia tell us that our true social network is limited to five people, or fewer.

The researchers compared the world's "hunter-gatherer" societies to status-updating societies and found that no matter our lifestyle, our brains tend to develop an emotional attachment to a very, very small number of people. Because biology. As Phys.org reports:

HarrĂ© and Prokopenko suggest the upper limit on the number of direct friends for most people is about five. The upper limits appear to be based on biology, they note—as th…

It's All Relative: Nepotism at Work Is Alive and Well

A new survey of more than 2,300 British employees finds a whopping 81% think nepotism exists at work, while 61% have either seen it happen or experienced its negative consequences firsthand on the job. Oh, brother!

Even worse, nepotism is trickling down through the average recruiting process, according to the folks at CV-Library who conducted the survey.

Essentially, the modern British workplace sounds like a chapter ripped directly from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. In this modern-day employment scene, employers are Mr. Darcy and every lowly-connected job applicant is Lizzy. The employer loves our resume against their will, their reason -- and even against their character! -- but any alliance between Darcy and Lizzy must be regarded as a highly-reprehensible connection. Sniff. Besides, Mr. Darcy is supposed to hire marry his cousin, so.


What can be done to stem the tide of nepotistic malice at work? CV-Library suggests employers might want to follow India's lead by bann…

Only Brunettes Need Apply To Be A Google Working Woman Emoji

Google is proposing a set of professional working women emojis to represent women better in the workplace. My first thought as I scanned Google's proposed emojis? There's not one blonde in the entire bunch. Are we really living in a brunette working world now?

Maybe it's all in my imagination, I thought to myself as I stared at the set of proposed emojis. Surely, Google couldn't have forgotten to represent the professional working blonde!

Then I looked up Google's entire emoji list, and I couldn't seem to find a blond emoji anywhere**. There are brunettes, redheads and emoji people with very dark hair, but not one blonde.

And now Google is proposing a set of all-brunette working woman emojis. What gives?

I was surprised by my gut reaction to Google's proposed set of emojis to represent working women. Couldn't Google cough up one blonde female emoji doctor, college graduate or construction worker? Better yet, can't Google replicate these 12 working w…

Will A Petition To Ban High Heels At Work Fall Flat?

By now, you've probably read about the British temporary worker who says she was sent home from her receptionist gig at a prominent management consulting firm because she wouldn't wear high heels on the job.

Now the 27-year-old temporary worker, Nicola Thorp, has started a petition that's kicking around the United Kingdom. The petition would ban British employers from requiring female employees to wear high heels, and it already has more than 101,000 signatures! In Britain, petitions to Parliament require 10,000 signatures to receive a government response.


Young women in the '60s burned their bras, and now young women in the 21st Century are kicking off their high heels! As Ms. Thorp's petition to Parliament states:

It's still legal in the UK for a company to require female members of staff to wear high heels at work against their will. Dress code laws should be changed so that women have the option to wear flat formal shoes at work, if they wish. Current form…

A,E, I, Oh, You: Is It Okay To Correct A Co-worker's Grammar?

There, they're and their. These three words are the bane of employees everywhere! But is it okay to correct a co-worker's grammar? You might be interested in a new survey that finds we no longer care as much about other people's writing mistakes!

A new YouGov/Huffington Post survey of 1,000 people finds fewer than one-fourth (22%) surveyed are highly bothered by poor grammar in emails, while another 30% said that email grammar mistakes bother them "somewhat."

But here's the kicker: A whopping 44% surveyed said that poorly-written emails and texts don't bother them very much, if at all. Women are more bothered by poor online grammar than men by a 10% margin.

Language is always evolving, and I've recently updated a few of my own grammar choices. For example, I've switched from writing "he or she" on this blog to writing "they." Do I find it painful to pair a plural pronoun with a singular noun? Yes, but it sure makes things easi…

How To Handle the Co-worker Who Is Always Bored

You feel like you're barely keeping up at work lately. There's always so much to do! Then your co-worker utters the three of the most dreaded words in the workplace lexicon: I'm so bored. Let's talk about the constantly-bored co-worker!

Everyone gets bored at work sometimes. But saying "I'm so bored" at work is generally a very bad idea, because it makes our co-workers think we're lazy and lacking in creativity.

When we utter "I'm so bored" at work, our colleagues might also hear it as: "I don't want to do this work." Message: I'm not a very good team player.

Still, these downsides do not stop your ennui-clad co-worker from regaling you with regular boredom status updates throughout the work day. "I'm so booooored," she says as she does a 360-degree spin in her office chair. "I can't believe it's only 10 a.m. Aren't you bored, too?"

No, you aren't bored -- you're way too busy f…

The Future Of Work Is Money Dropped From Helicopters

So we found out on Friday that the U.S. economy is still creating jobs, but a prominent investor suggests that each American may be in need of an annual stipend eventually to replace all the disappearing jobs. Sorry, U.S. workers: The U.S. economy just isn't that into you.

Forget helicopter parents, because the Millennials could be moving into the age of...helicopter money? As The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

Central bank "helicopter money" will avoid a long recession that looms as millions of millennials face losing their jobs to robot technology, veteran investor Bill Gross says.

In news that is sure to depress anyone under the age of 30, Gross, the co-founder of bond investment firm PIMCO, who now runs a fund with Denver-based Janus Capital, says that while presidential hopefuls in the US spout mantras about how they are going to spur growth, none are addressing the reality of the future: that robots and technology are going to render "millions" of jobs r…

Stop Asking Your Millennial Co-workers To Run 10K Races

If you're trying to round up a group of co-workers to run an upcoming 5K race, then you might want to sprint right past the millennials in your workplace. They're too busy running toward athletic activities that have absolutely nothing to do with running!

A new Wall Street Journal article singles out the millennials as single-handedly stomping out the decades-long running boom. That's right, Gen Xers: you can have your smelly running shoes and random bouts of plantar fasciitis, because the 18-to-34 demographic has better things to do than huff and puff its way to some distant finish line!

The numbers tell the story. Between 2013 and 2015, "frequent" runners in the 25-to-34 demographic decreased 19%, while the 18-to-24 demographic saw a 22% decrease in young adults who run regularly. In real numbers, it means a drop of 2.5 million Americans who get out and run on a regular basis.

There are many theories floating around as to why the millennials are running away fr…

Thanks To Chatbots, You Won't Have To Talk To Co-workers Anymore

Are you sick and tired of talking to your co-workers? Do you wish you could just phone it in without having to chit-chat with them about your weekend? Well, soon you can do just that, thanks to the chatbot!

What is a "chatbot," you ask? Basically, it's a Siri-like app that acts as a human interface -- sort of like when you call an 800-number and repeat yourself five times only to have a cheery, automated voice say, "I'm sorry, I'm still not understanding you" before hanging up.

For example, say you need to call in sick, but you don't want to fake-cough your way to a workplace Oscar nomination over the phone with a real, live, mid-level manager. Unlike a savvy manager, a dumb chatbot can't read between the lines to suspect that you're hoping to play hooky today so you can finally go kayaking!**

As Bloomberg reports:

Starting this July, when customer service employees at Overstock.com are too sick to come to work, they'll tell Mila they…