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Showing posts from 2018

One-Third of Employees Think Managers Set Pay Based on Feelings

Here's a Monday kind of question for you: Do you think your manager sets your pay based primarily on skills, or how they feel about you?

Cloud-based compensation software firm Beqom has issued its 2018 Compensation and Culture Report, which, among other things, reveals that one-third of employees think their managers set pay based on how they feel about an employee instead of the employee's performance, skills and experience. Ouch.

Forget having the skills to pay the bills, because modern management is about all the feels! This isn't business, it's personal. So what can managers do about it?

The Way You Make Me Feel
Favoritism at work -- even when it's perceived favoritism -- can have a highly corrosive effect on employee productivity and engagement if they think their pay is based on workplace popularity. Here, watch this video. It has some great tips.

Transparency -- e.g., making everyone's pay or salary level everyone's business -- is another s…

Like a Boss! 80% of U.S. Workers are Happy with Their Managers

October 16 is National Boss's Day, the one day of the year when we're supposed to compliment the boss. Luckily, a new survey finds that saying "good job!" to the boss and actually meaning it might not be so hard to do, after all!

Staffing firm OfficeTeam surveyed more than 2,800 adult employees in 28 major U.S. cities and found the vast majority give their boss a solid "A" for effort. Almost half (49%) think their manager is a good leader. Let's give everyone in management a much-needed round of applause!

However, one in five employees does not feel like clapping. No, they feel like clapping back instead: Nearly one-fourth of employees surveyed (23%) see the boss as a dreaded micromanager, while 16% think the boss is incompetent. Ouch.

Where Managers Are Most Admired
Where are managers most likely to be admired? Indianapolis, Salt Lake City, Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami ranked highly in employee satisfaction with management.

However, managers…

JSYK: Five Signs Your Teammate is an Internet Troll

A combative coworker has one more thing to say on a topic you didn't want to talk about in the first place. By the end of the work day, you feel both frustrated, and mentally exhausted. This coworker is an internet troll come to life on the job.

With less than a month to go before the U.S. midterm elections, politics is on the brain for many people. Yes, even at work. Most of us know better than to talk about it during the work day, though.

But what if you work with someone who just can't keep their political views to themselves? When they aren't trolling anonymously on internet comment boards, they're trying to provoke their teammates into political arguments. Or any argument, really. The topic doesn't matter as long as everyone is debating and becoming visibly upset.

As a society, we're rapidly blurring the line between internet troll and in-the-flesh, in-person human being. Where does one begin, and the other one end? Some people speak as if they're al…

This is MY Job: When Parents Embarrass their Adult Children Online

Have you been following the story about the mom who embarrassed her Navy vet son by tweeting about his military accomplishments and his dating life? Her post went viral, and now he's embarrassed.

It's time to talk about the parents who go on social media to get all up in their children's professional business!

Instead of allowing their children the time and space to construct their own online narrative, these parents are all over social media talking about their child's job much they don't like it. Their child is tired, overworked and underpaid. If only their meanie of a manager would stop being so awful!

If the previous paragraph hits a little too close to home, then Navy Vet Son is your worst nightmare come true. You can imagine your photo floating around the internet, attached forever to your mother's random Twitter thoughts, and now your friends are texting you at work to let you know that you're trending worldwide.

Oh, man. You've gone vi…

I'm Sorry (Again)! Dealing with Coworkers who Apologize Too Much

A coworker comes up to you and apologizes for a mistake she made...last week. It's the fifth time she's apologized for it, too. Sorry to bring this up, but how should you handle the coworker who won't stop apologizing for everything?

We've all worked with this coworker. Elton John said that sorry seems to be the hardest word, but not for this coworker! These are the colleagues in meetings who will preface what they're about to say with phrases such as "This might sound like a stupid idea, but..." or "This is probably a bad idea, but..." or "I don't think this would work, but..."


These are the colleagues who will apologize for not being totally prepared, but will generally proceed to do a good job -- making us wonder if they were yanking our chains by playing the "low expectations" game of undersell and over-deliver. I told them I couldn't do it, and then BAM I delivered!

These are the colleagues who will keep s…

Come at Me, Bro: Where Have All the Grown Ups Gone?

The Kavanaugh hearings and impending confirmation have us talking about the 1980s again. The parties. The drinking. The bar fights. All we need now is the Stop Making Sense soundtrack, which, of course, is one of the best albums of all time.

The music takes me back to a simpler time when grown ups acted like grown ups. Now every day means another petty argument among grown adults, and we're not talking about policy issues anymore. Too many of our leaders are calling each other schoolyard names, shouting over each other, and acting incredibly immature for their ages. Come at me bro, indeed.

Personally, I find the rampant immaturity level as depressing as all of the lying. Immaturity is everywhere, from the moms at the bus stop acting like seventh graders to grown adults trolling each other on Twitter to one of our nation's elite asking a sitting U.S. Senator if she drinks to black out.

The questions I've had rattling around my brain for the last few weeks are fighting the…

Shh! When a Coworker Makes Unreasonable Requests for Office Quiet

You're hard at work when a coworker says: "I can hear your breathing over there. Could you stop doing that?" Huh? Let's talk about the controlling coworkers who literally don't want to hear us at work!

Before we get started here, let me say that I won't be writing about the jingly-jangly jewelry wearer or the stentorian spit swisher, which are noises that we can control (read: eliminate) for the most part. Besides, we've covered those bases already.

No, today I'm focusing on the coworker who has pretty much told you to stop breathing, because she can hear it. And could you walk more quietly to the copier while you're at it? Until ambient habitat soundscaping arrives at work, you feel doomed to a standard of quiet that is impossible to attain.

The too-quiet office can contribute to our coworker's controlling quest for total office quiet, as could the open office environment that is packing us in like sardines and forcing us to watch our teammate…

On National Coffee Day, An Ode to Our Coworkers Who Quit Coffee

Tomorrow is National Coffee Day, the one day a year when we pledge our enduring loyalty to the coffee bean. But what if your coworker is trying to quit coffee, and her caffeine deprivation ends up giving everyone else in the office a headache?

On Monday morning, your coworker announced that she was quitting coffee. She's been reading up on the negative impacts of caffeine on the body, and now she's going cold turkey.

I'm not talking about switching to decaf, or quitting coffee gradually over many months. No. She's pulling the plug on cappuccinos as of TODAY, and she's never asking for Hazelnut flavoring ever again! She scoffs at your Monday morning coffee run. You are weak, and you are not educated on the issues. She doesn't need the stuff anymore. She is stronger than a double shot of espresso.

Saturday is #NationalCoffeeDay! Here are some stimulating stats for you to ponder while your pot's percolating. How do you drink your coffee? Black? Milk & suga…

With the Kavanaugh Hearings, a Generational Change

Who are we kidding? Nobody is getting very much work done today. We are all riveted by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In response to @NBCNews panel questioning whether people are just going about their day, not here. The entire plane is watching— jess salomon (@jess_salomon) September 27, 2018
I won't take up much of your time as you watch today's testimony. But one of the many things that strikes me about today is how a generational torch has been passed. As a nation, we're no longer talking about and debating the Baby Boomers' behavior in the 1960s. Did this person support the draft? What is his Vietnam service record? Did he inhale?

Instead, we're talking about jarring, ugly events alleged to have taken place between Gen Xers in the early 1980s. As a Gen Xer myself, it dawned on me that today is the first time I've seen my generation revealed in full, raw view in such …

Should All Office Workers Dress Exactly the Same?

Another day, another dilemma about what to wear to work. While our democracy hangs in the balance, we debate wearing New Balances to the office. We change our outfit three times, and hope for the best.

Sometimes, we wish that we had a personal stylist to select our work clothes for us, because figuring out what to wear can feel like a job in itself some days. However, there might be a simple solution to our sartorial indecision: a universal, formal office dress code where all office workers dress exactly the same!

Everybody In Khaki
An article in Britain's The Independent ponders bringing the dress code found in private schools into the white-collar workplace. This way, nobody stands out, nobody feels under-dressed, and nobody can out-do each other in the workplace fashion sweepstakes. Our colleagues won't be able to get a leg up on us professionally, since we're all wearing the same pants that we put on one leg at a time.

It could be like going back to 1999, when Gen X …

Workplace Trends: Sugar Shaming Your Employees

Between the plate of home-made cookies your coworker brought to work this morning and the afternoon sheet cake to celebrate this month's birthdays, sugar can be as plentiful in many workplaces as staples and paper clips.

But now, any manager worth his or her salt is beginning to say "no" to sugar at work! Because obesity problem. "Sugar shaming" is apparently all the rage, according to a WSJ article. But is sugar shaming only going to leave employees in a rage?

No More Sugar At Work?
Yes, we could all cut back on sugary snacks. We could skip the workplace birthday cake, and politely decline the coworkers who offer us a(nother) homemade chocolate chip cookie. If there's a will, there's a way, as they say, to go sugar free.

But do we really need a managerial eating edict to shame us into consuming less sugar? We already have the health-conscious coworker trying to shame us for not going gluten free, and for not Soul Cycling. Do we really need management…

Employees Are Having Trouble Answering All of Their Emails

A new study from LinkedIn, which I never use, asked more than 1,000 employees to name their most common workplace challenges. Here's the list:

1. Finding work-life balance (38%)
2. Managing their workload (31%)
3. Dealing with coworkers (26%)
4. Workplace politics (25%)
5. Dealing with managers (23%)
6. Growing their career (22%)
7. Being passionate about what they do (19%)
8. Not having somebody to turn to for help (16%)
9. Equal pay/negotiating their salary (15%)
10. Answering all of their emails (13%)

I've covered all of these issues since started this blog, except for one. Number 10. I haven't covered email overload because I find it's one of my biggest work-related challenges, if not my biggest challenge. An email comes in (in my case, usually a story idea/pitch), and I read it. I'd like to respond, but I don't know quite what to say, or how to phrase it just yet. And I write for a living.

So, I move on as junk emails pile up in my email box, one after t…

Study Finds Bcc'ing Your Boss at Work Is a Bad Idea

You're replying to an email at work, and decide to bcc the boss on it. You're just trying to keep the boss in the loop, but a new study reveals bcc'ing the boss on a group message could come back to bite you!

Researchers at University of Cambridge Judge Business School wanted to see how bcc'ing the boss in a work-related email -- that is, hiding the boss's name and address in the email while revealing the names and addresses of the other recipients -- made coworkers feel when they found out the boss had been bcc'ed without their knowledge. The study included nearly 700 working adults. Ooh, this is going to be good.

Bcc'ing the Boss is Bad, Bad, Bad
What did the researchers uncover? Well, for starters, our coworkers don't like it when they find out another coworker has been bcc'ing the boss on a work thread without them knowing about it. They feel a bit, shall we say, betrayed. Bcc'trayed. In fact, bcc'ing the boss could lead coworkers to se…

That Bites! Employees Aren't Taking Their Lunch Breaks Anymore

Ah, the lunch break. The time of day when we grab lunch solo or with our coworkers, and enjoy a brief respite from work.

Or at least we used to, back in the day when we felt like we had time to do such things, according to the results dished up in a new OnePoll/Eggland's Best survey of 2,000 employees.

Snack Breaks Are Replacing Lunch Breaks
The traditional lunch break is becoming a 20th-Century work anachronism, a hanger-on from a time gone by when we would stand up from our typewriters, turn off the Telex and let lunch take us away. These days, saying, "I'm off to lunch, back in an hour!" is sort of like yelling, "Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?" in the middle of an open office environment.

Instead of keeping mustard in our glove compartments, we're keeping snacks in our desks to provide the sustenance that will power us to quitting time. More than four in 10 employees surveyed (44%) forage through their snack drawers throughout the day as a …

What If Your Gen Z Coworker Doesn't Remember 9/11?

On 9/11, I always wonder whether or not to write anything. Usually, I spend the day largely lost in contemplation, and reflection. It's a hard day, still. Surreal.

Like other Gen Xers, I remember exactly where I was, and what I was doing that morning. Trying to finish a story in my home office. I don't think I wrote a word that day. There were no words.

17 years later, 9/11 feels like it happened only yesterday for those of us who remember it vividly. Time moves on, but we'll always feel lost on this day every year. I know I do. Never forget.

But what if you have a young, new coworker who doesn't remember 9/11?

Where Were You on 9/11?
There is a new generation of employees entering the workplace for whom 9/11 is a history lesson. The 21-year-old new hire was four years old on 9/11. The 19-year-old intern in your department was only two years old. This year's high school graduates, meanwhile, were born in 2001. They, of course, have no memory of 9/11 at all.


Will "Rage Rooms" Be All the Rage at Work Soon?

It's one of those days, and you feel like banging your head against a wall. Why not bang a mallet on an old, broken TV set instead?

In what could be seen as a sign of the times, "rage rooms" are popping up around the country to let us take out our rage on inanimate objects using crowbars, bats and other weaponry. Here is what it looks like, courtesy of the fine folks at Rage Room Chicago.

I'll admit, I'm more of a yoga person myself. Or I'll go for a nice run and let the endorphins kick in whenever I'm feeling upset, or nervous. It works for me. Smashing dinner plates with a sledgehammer in a paint-smattered room isn't something I've remotely thought about, or pondered as a workplace perk. Whenever I think of sledgehammers, I think of the Peter Gabriel song, which has a steady bass beat for smashing stuff.

A Smash Hit?
Only a few years ago, the hot, new trend was toward escape rooms, where a team uses its problem-solving skills to emerge from a lo…

The Workplace Diva Blog's New Address

Just a quick note to let you know that I've updated this website's address. That is to say that I've shortened it.

You can now find this blog at Or you can keep using the same address you're visiting right now. I hope to see you there, or here, because they're the same place, really. Thanks for reading!

I Know! Dealing with Coworkers Who Fish For Advice They Won't Take

Your coworker seems to be fishing for advice. You take the bait, and offer your two cents. "I know," this coworker responds in an irritated tone. Well, you didn't seem to know a minute ago. Let's talk about the coworker who always seems to be asking for advice and then gets irritated when it's offered!

"I'm not sure if I should do it or not," this coworkers muses as you listen. "Maybe I should wait. Or maybe I should do it? It could probably wait, but it should probably get done?"

This coworker's eyes meet yours, and they seem to be begging for advice. What should I do? So you offer advice, which appears to irritate this coworker to no end. "I know," this coworker says with a hint of frustration, before leaving in a huff.

What the hell just happened? Suddenly, you feel like Princess Leia telling Han Solo she loves him.

I Know That Already!
I'll admit, I've fallen into this trap a few times in both professional and …

BFFs? Only 15% of Employees Consider Coworkers to be "Real Friends"

Do you see your coworkers as real friends? If not, then you're right in line with a new study that finds only 15% of U.S. employees consider their coworkers to be the kind of friends they could call at 3 a.m. with a non-work related issue!

Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois recently surveyed 3,000 full-time employed Americans to get a better understanding of how workplace friendships work. How close are we to our coworkers, and do we have unbreakable social bonds with them? Can we really be BFFs (er, Business Friends Forever) with our fellow working professionals?

First, the good news: More than eight in 10 surveyed (82%) said they do work with someone they would consider to be a friend. Aw. That's great, and completely understandable. We all need somebody we can connect with at work, since we spend so much time there. Work friends make the day go better.

Our Workplace Friends In Pie Chart Form
However, the survey reveals that if we were to put our coworkers into pie chart…

Do You Feel Overpaid For the Work You Do?

I'm back from a very long, self-imposed hiatus. Long story, too many words, and you don't come here to hear me complain. No, you come here for quirky workplace insights that are either priceless or worth a dime a dozen, depending on the day.

On the topic of worth, you might be interested in a new report from staffing firm Robert Half that surveyed more than 2,800 U.S. workers about their paychecks. Perhaps not surprisingly, 46% surveyed feel underpaid by their employers, while 49% feel paid fairly for the work they do.

But these two numbers add up to 95%. What's going on with the remaining 5% of employees? Well, they think they are -- wait for it -- overpaid!

Yes, there are those texting and typing among us who think they earn too much money for what they do. These few-and-far between co-workers come to work and think, "The money's too good around here!" as they phone it in on their new iPhone, or whatever. You may not know this co-worker, except m…

Five Tips For Dealing with Smartphone-Addicted Teammates

You're in a meeting when the teammate next to you whispers the five most annoying words in the modern workplace lexicon: "What did she just say?"

Your co-worker, who only a few seconds ago couldn't be pulled away from an invigorating round of Super Mario Run on his smartphone, realizes that he missed something important. Now he's looking to you to fill in the blanks. You very kindly do, but now you've both missed something even more important. Grrr!

This happens in every meeting, too. Why can't your co-worker put the phone down for a few freaking minutes, and how do you get out of this poor feedback loop?

What Did They Just Say?
The technology-distracted teammate who always misses key details in meetings is a sign of the times we're living through, unfortunately. Attention spans are already short thanks to memes, Vines and other short-burst ways of communicating. If it can't be said in 15 words or less, we're losing everyone in the r…

Dealing with Co-workers Who Don't Plan Ahead for Childcare

Summer is almost here, which means at least one of your co-workers will realize they still haven't planned out their summer childcare arrangements, and all of the day camps are full. Oops. Let's talk about the co-worker whose childcare arrangements are always last-minute and leaving you in a lurch at work!

The summer months only seems to exacerbate your co-worker's childcare quandary. Summer becomes ten calendar weeks of watching this co-worker desperately try to cobble daycare together. You can't help but wonder why this co-worker never plans well in advance for summer break -- or winter break and teacher workdays. (We'll get to that later in the post.)

Childcare is a topic many working professionals don't want to talk about, but hard feelings between colleagues can result when it's planned poorly. So what can you do as a work peer who is trying to make sure projects stay on track?

Tips For Making Summer Work At Work
While you can't force this colleag…

The Self-Employed Think the Robot Revolution Won't Hurt Them

Many employees are worried about artificial intelligence entering the workplace. No, I'm not talking about the 20-something Millennial your company hired last week; I'm talking about real robots here!

But there's one group of workers who think AI in the workplace won't be a big deal. The self-employed -- okay, I'll pause while you scoff and say, "Ha, like they even have real jobs!" -- are one group that welcomes our digital overlords to the workplace. Basically, independent contractors are the anti-Gilfoyle.

A Qdos Contractor study of more than 1,500 contractors in the United Kingdom reveals half think robots will have "little impact" on their careers, while another 21% think robots will have a "big, positive impact" on their careers. Verging on half surveyed (47%) think robots and AI could lead to more work coming their way, not less.

Only 11% of contractors surveyed see robots as potentially having a "big, negative impact" …

Blast From the Past: Trying to Keep a Calendar in the Trump Era

Do you feel like the future can't happen fast enough, but the past can be hard to remember?

I was trying to remember when I had my last dental checkup, because it felt like months had passed since my last one. My last checkup was in...January? I must be due for another visit.

So I called my dentist to put it on my calendar. "I see that your last cleaning was in March," the dental assistant said cheerily. "We'll see you again in September!"

Wait a minute here. My last cleaning was ONLY eight weeks ago? Really? I apologized for bothering her, thanked her, and ended the call.

I stood there, looking at my Big Family Calendar (the paper kind). The Washington D.C. winter did linger into April this year, but how could I have gotten this so wrong? I pride myself on running on schedule, and remembering dates and time frames. I'm the one in the family who remembers these things! We're all in trouble now.

Running on Trump Time
If you feel like the future is sl…

Study Finds Our Fear of Workplace Robots Could Be Hurting Our Health

Do you quietly worry about robots stealing your job?

A fascinating Ball State/Villanova University study reveals that employees are worried about the metal ones coming for their jobs, and all this worrying could be impacting their overall health!

Researchers at Ball State and Villanova wanted to examine, on the county level, how employees' underlying fears that they could end up unemployed thanks to a robot or computer might be linked to health issues. In other words, can our fear of automation make our overall health worse?

In a nutshell, it sure seems that way: The researchers found that a 10-percentage-point increase in automation risk at the county level worsens general, physical and mental health by 2.38 percentage points, 0.8 percentage points, and 0.6 percentage points, respectively. So even just our perception of poorer job security could be impacting our mental and physical health.

Where we live appears to matter, as well. The South, the study finds, has a higher percen…

Are Employees Who Wear Cold Shoulder Tops Getting the Cold Shoulder for Promotions?

The weather's getting warmer, and that means more tank tops and fancy flip-flops at work. But could your cold-shoulder blouse mean you'll get the cold shoulder when it comes time for a promotion?

OfficeTeam recently surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. office workers, 300 senior managers, and 300 HR managers and unzipped a startling statistic: 86% of workers and 80% of managers said that an employee's clothing choices affect his or her chances of promotion!

So what is acceptable clothing in today's wash-and-don't-iron workplaces compared to, say, five years ago? Jeans, tennis shoes and leggings have all earned a certain acceptability at work, much to the chagrin of employees who still dare to dress up. However, tank tops, cold-shoulder tops and shorts have lost workplace acceptability over the last five years. Nobody wants to see our shoulders at work, apparently. Wear sleeves.

One thing is for sure: managers would like to avoid this hot topic. Only half of managers who …