There's something I've hated since the third grade, yet I've found it trailing me like a bloodhound over the past two decades. It's when a teacher hands out a syllabus or assignment and then preceeds to read the entire thing around. This is not teaching. This is not lecturing. It is laziness.This problem has seeped into many of the meetings I attend. Workers prepare reports and then read them alond - word for word. If we are having a meeting, isn't it fair to expect that we will verbally discuss and expand upon the information contained on the paper? These verbatim readers never see the attendees' eyes glazing over because they are too busy reading!Reading aloud might be effective for my wife's second grade class, but in the businessworld, you are embarassing your staff and yourself.Sorry for the rant. If you want to vent about work, leave a comment below and be sure to check out the Jobacle Master Lists of Work Vent Websites. … [Read more...] about Hey Boss, We're Not Illiterate!
Forced to Come to the Office in a Snowstorm?
Unless you earn a living as an emergency responder or snow-plow operator, there's no reason to report to work amidst a winter storm. Or, at least that's what logic and humanity seem to dictate. But who said cooler heads prevail at work?! Unfortunately for middle-of-the-ladder employees, we rarely get to see our bosses' "softer side." In the northeast, we have experienced some the worst snow conditions in 114 years--and even that didn't make employers change their rigid tune.Missing work when it snows is serious business. Read more from Andrew G.R. on "snowjobs" at U.S. News & World Report. … [Read more...] about Forced to Come to the Office in a Snowstorm?
Super (Unemployment) Bowl
This weekend there will be about 20 people at Jobacle HQ watching the Super Bowl. We'll all be chowing down on chicken wings and pulled pork sliders, shushing each other as the first commercials start to roll.At an average cost of $2.6M for 30 seconds, everyone from Anheuser-Busch to Walt Disney will be jockeying for our attention.We'll all muse over the cost of these ads, a figure, which quite honestly, is incomprehensible to me and my middle-class friends.The out-of-work construction worker will laugh; the unemployed teacher might chuckle. And my friend's dad, who's worked in a union for 37 years, will be sipping beers for the first time as a member of the pink-slip brigade.With 1 out of every 10 Americans unemployed, am I the only one sick over the Super Bowl ad orgy?Let's do some quickie math.In the time you watch Danica Patrick whore herself out for Web hosting, 43 people could have been added to payroll at $40,000 a year each - we'll even toss in $20,000 for medical … [Read more...] about Super (Unemployment) Bowl
Reality Check: Work Fire Drills FAIL
Shouting fire in a crowded theater could land you in jail; yelling 'fire drill' at work is a big, fat, colossal fail. While an exciting and welcome change of pace in fourth grade, workplace fire drills are a time-wasting distraction in the corporate culture. Before my inbox gets jammed from fire survivors, let me preface this post by stating I am not anti-fire drill, nor am I pro-fire. I just think the methods employed by most organizations are laughable.THE TRUTH ABOUT WORK FIRE DRILLS1) Don't give me a mandatory meeting place in the event of a fire. I understand that employers want a headcount so that they can make sure everyone is out of the building (and cover their asses). But should disaster strike, you will find me acting in my best interest. If that means jogging three miles away from the burning building, so be it. I'm not suggesting I'll trample helpless children, a la George Costanza, but I will look out for myself and my family … [Read more...] about Reality Check: Work Fire Drills FAIL
The Famous Question: HOW’S WORK?
It's a question asked by every parent, friend and acquaintance: "How's work?" Most of us have a stock answer we go to. But few of us have ever put much thought into the importance in the way we answer the seemingly innocent question. Let's look at a few different scenarios. IF YOU SAY WORK IS BAD: This is likely the answer most people are looking for. People like to commiserate and 'bond' by trash-talking low pay, a boring routine, and made-for-reality TV co-workers. IF YOU SAY WORK IS GOOD: They won't believe you. They'll try to steer you towards negative territory to see if you're human. Stay strong. IF YOU ARE VAGUE ABOUT WORK: Short answers make it appear as if you are hiding a larger issue - or are a boring conversationalist. This leaves too much to the questioners' imagination, allowing them to come to their own (inaccurate) conclusions about your job. IF YOU OFFER WORK DETAILS: Many people ask questions without any interest in the answers. But it's worth … [Read more...] about The Famous Question: HOW’S WORK?
Violated at Work, The Death of Personal Space
More people, less space. It's a problem that the world is plagued with. Once you get to the office, a place where much of our individuality is stripped away to begin with with, we are left with precious little to call our own. Perhaps that is why I've been guarding my personal space a little more carefully of late.There's nothing we can do about the sounds and scents that permeate our workspace, but we CAN protect the invisible bubble that most normal functioning members of society call their own. First let's talk about anthropologist Edward Hall Jr. The one-time Harvard Business School teacher who passed away last year at the age of 95, defined "personal reaction bubbles" in 1966 as follows:- Public space is greater than 12 feet from where I am.- Social space occurs within 4 to 12 feet.- Personal space occurs within 4 to 1.5 feet.- Intimate space is within 1.5 feetFor the most part at work, I find that people respect personal space. In the elevator … [Read more...] about Violated at Work, The Death of Personal Space
The Incredible Shrinking Cubicle
Don’t kid yourself, it IS getting smaller…Okay, better and funnier minds than mine (Scott Adam’s Dilbert et al) excel at lampooning cubicle culture. But a recent Wall Street Journal article, Office Personal Space Is Crowded Out, by Sarah E. Needleman addresses the actual shrinking of the cubicle space and what that means for the workforce.Needleman gives an example from an interior design group that is creating new work areas that are now 48 sq. ft., down from 64 sq. ft. five years ago. When I mentioned that to my husband, he said the 48 sq. ft. actually sounded roomier than his current space. I'm sure a number of very practical reasons go into these decreases; companies needing to cut costs during the recession, elimination of space for employees who work mostly away from the office or adapting to a more open floor plan. The article also mentions the lowering of cubicle partitions. Hubby’s used to be around 5½ ft. high and now is closer to 4 ft. … [Read more...] about The Incredible Shrinking Cubicle
What Should I Do With My 3% Raise?
Yes, I know, I should just be grateful to have a job. But what fun would that be?It would be easy to sit back and allow the $100 a month raise - $35 a check after taxes - to simply fade into our finances. Such an inconsequential amount of money would easily be absorbed into our regular spending habits without us ever noticing a change. So I've decided to make the most out of the extra ducats - but I need your help.How should I spend my 3% raise?A. Additional money to mortgage paymentSubmitting an extra $70 a month towards my mortgage will save me $19,482 on interest over the life of the loan (29 years).B. Donate each monthIt's nice to help others, but in reality, you are really helping yourself. If you believe in the Law of Reciprocation - or Karma - then by giving freely, you are building up positive equity that can be cashed in at a later date.C. Invest in myself by taking a classWill greater education lead to a bigger paycheck? There's no … [Read more...] about What Should I Do With My 3% Raise?
6 Reasons Staff Evaluations FAIL
I've worked on staff evaluations before, but this year, as I pressed forward on a batch of them, it occurred to me how royally f'd up the system is. With the economy still 'uncertain,' many companies are stingier than ever when it comes to raises and praise. Apparently the two go hand-in-hand. The suits think that if you shower an employee with commendations, they will expect a raise to match. But since it always seems like it's the year of the tightwad, it appears most organizations are holding back in all categories.The annual review is designed to keep employees happy - but not too happy. In other words, staff evaluations are approached as a mechanism to maintain the status quo. As a younger worker, I lived and died by the annual review. Now I see what a useless gauge it really is. Every company handles evaluations and merit raises differently, but in my experience, here are a few reasons why staff evals FAIL.1) Evaluations are like a … [Read more...] about 6 Reasons Staff Evaluations FAIL