/blog > Workplace

oldguycallme

Writing at IT World, Eric Bloom has some suggestions for Generation Y employees to help them get noticed by (and possibly make some inroads with) their generation X and Baby Boomer co-workers / superiors. Bloom is very careful to point out how distasteful stereotypes are and makes some seemingly innocuous suggestions: Use the phone Spell words out Be a bit more formal in emails Work hard  None of this is offered as “We need to get things back the way they used to be,” but rather “these are good behaviors to display to a few key individuals in your organization.” What I find most interesting are some of the responses (apparently) from Gen Y readers of the piece: — Speak on Phone – Good luck. Just as you wouldn’t like using text when youstarted out, they don’t like making phone calls. Their numbers are too big and their generation’s preferred…

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vintagesecretary

Because it was intended to determine qualifications for secretaries and because it comes to us from the primitive and barbaric year 1959, this list of self-qualifying behaviors for “business work” is presented by Slate as a curiosity, and evidence of a business culture that devalued and discriminated against women.  And perhaps it is that, but I see something more here. If today, living in the enlightened times we enjoy, one were to put together a list of good characteristics for, say, a consultant, how different would it be from this list? You might need one additional item about assertively, but not obnoxiously, leading a client to understand things about the organization that they currently aren’t seeing. But then, really, that’s item 8, isn’t it? Let’s try another job: how about a management position? The only thing missing from the list is “Getting people to do what needs to be done”…

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startrek

[Note: this piece contains a few minor spoilers for Star Trek Into Darkness.] An unexpected aspect of the appeal of Star Trek, as explained by Virgina Postrel: For many viewers, it turns out, Star Trek represents the ideal workplace. “I was most attracted to the competence of the characters,” said a Tennessee businessman. “It would be nice to live in a world or even work in an office where everyone was dedicated to their jobs and to each other and good at their work.” In retrospect, this escapist appeal makes sense. In Star Trek, the work is meaningful; the colleagues are smart, hard-working, competent and respectful; the leaders are capable and fair; and everyone has an important contribution to make. Star Trek features what law student Cindy McNew described as “a close-knit group of colleagues whose abilities complement one another and who don’t seem to take out their animosities or…

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workfromhome

Yahoo’s new CEO Marissa Mayer has caused quite a stir with her recent decision to end the company’s remote employment program. The official HR announcement calling all the work-from-home folks back to the office cites a desire to foster innovation as the primary reason for the change. As more companies have expanded work-from-home policies over the past few years, Mayer’s decision reopens the debate about whether remote employees can be as effective as those who show up at the office every day. So far the answer seems to be a resounding it depends: Studies show that people who work at home are significantly more productive but less innovative, said John Sullivan, a professor of management at San Francisco State University who runs a human resource advisory firm. “If you want innovation, then you need interaction,” he said. “If you want productivity, then you want people working from home.” Since innovation…

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hats

How many of us have sat in a long department meeting and listened to presentation after presentation? Suddenly you hear something the presenter is saying and you think “what the hell are they talking about?” It happened to me last week. In the spirit of transparency what should we do? Should we call out that presenter and challenge their point? If they really are just babbling nonsense, we shouldn’t let them waste our time like that. Or maybe they really do have a point, but they are expressing it so inarticulately that it’s losing everyone.  But then there’s the risk — what if you’re the only one they’re losing? Demanding clarification on a point that is clear to everyone else in the room can be awkward. This leads me to a cultural difference between the US and Europe. I have presented to groups in both places and I can tell…

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Time is money

Is it true that more and more men, even lawyers,  are unwilling to sacrifice personal time for professional goals? I have a close friend who comes out of a large law firm who expected him to commit 80 hours a week. I showed him this article. He viewed the article with a certain level of skepticism. Anne C. Weisberg, a talent director for Deloitte, explains in the article how and why their organization has instituted a cutting-edge approach to the work environment called Mass Career Customization. It includes the following points: Changing family structure. Department of Labor statistics reveal that in 83 percent of households both the husband and wife are now in the workforce. Increased numbers of women workers. Looking at the legal profession alone, women make up at least half of law students—yet personal versus professional demands and the lack of career satisfaction lead many of them to leave…

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muhammadali

Is arrogance an overlooked skill? If I am arrogant, is that a good or bad thing? Of course arrogance is bad, but is it a necessary evil in the rise of an executive? Subjectively I can conclude that I see this vice more in conversations with managers and executives than I do with employees. Are we born with arrogance? Or is it an environmental bi product of career achievement? Is arrogance directional? In other words are we only arrogant with people we feel we can be arrogant with? Enough questions lets look at an example. One of my former managers was significantly arrogant. She seemed to take pleasure in asserting her position to her staff and peers and at the same time letting us know that our opinions were less than important. I attended several meetings where she was presenting to her managers and, surprise surprise, her arrogance was no-where…

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hrconfessions.001

HR fesses up. My personal favorite: People assume someone’s reading their cover letter. I haven’t read one in 11 years. Ouch!Read More…

Logical Neo

Nothing will ever top this one. Sheer perfection.Read More…

hulk

The question: what to do with an employee who keeps throwing temper tantrums? My gut reaction: tell him or her to knock it off or they’re fired. Expert HR advice from Suzanne Lucas: ditto. This presupposes screaming-fit temper tantrums. If someone is becoming violent then you can skip the warning and just let the individual know he or she is fired as security (or the police) escort them out of there. Of course, this assumes he or she is still conscious, which will depend on what steps you had to take before help arrived.Read More…