Category: The Daily Grind
February 11, 2010
Is Office Romance in the Air Where You Work?
Word on the street is that work couples are going public. Office romance, once considered taboo, has become much more acceptable in the workplace. In fact, in a recent Monster.com poll, only 24% of respondents said flat-out that workplace romance is never acceptable. And this article from LiveCareer.com says the recession is fueling some of this love at work.
Personally, I know at least five married couples whose relationships began in the workplace. Their approaches to dating a coworker were all different -- some kept it quiet the entire time they worked together, and others were open about it from the beginning. The one thing they all did was keep it professional.
Some Monster members posted their own office romance tales on our Office Politics message board. One member, who worked for a company with a strict no-dating policy met her husband at work. She declares: "When it comes down to it, no company can stop the love thing." And another Monster member broke her own rule, as she had been against office romances. "I'd never take it back, because he's amazing and we're getting married, but I do have a horror story as well," she writes. It turns out that coworkers weren't as excited about the couple's decision and it negatively impacted their careers. If you are in a relationship with someone you work with or are thinking about dating a coworker, check out our Guide to Office Romance, filled with tips and things to consider before you make your move.
And with Valentine's Day this Sunday, coworker dating is not the only way love manifests itself in the workplace. Don't forget about all the harried mailroom workers making sure candy, flowers and other gifts make their way to the appropriate recipients. At a former job, my now-husband and a coworker's suitor had a friendly competition: who will send their honey the bigger and better gifts at work? The first day I received flowers and the next day my coworker received a half-dozen multicolored roses. Hearing about this, the next day my guy sent me a dozen roses, followed by my coworker receiving candy. As my coworker and I were showered with gifts, it became an office joke. And as the ante was upped, everyone benefited from the chocolate-covered strawberries and gourmet cheesecake. I'm not sure how it all stopped, but it eventually did, and we all went back to work.
So what are your thoughts on office romance and celebrating love at work in one way or another?
January 26, 2010
Before You Tweet, Does Your Employer Have a Social Media Policy?
The NFL doesn't allow players to post to Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites at certain times on game day.
The US Marine Corps has banned access to social networking sites from its network.
Companies take such measures when it comes to social media to prevent information from being leaked by employees, even inadvertently. Other companies are concerned about security risks that may come from these sites.
Over at Erickson's Blog on Social Networking and the Law, Megan Erickson wrote a post about how employers should think about their social networking policies. She brings up the IBM Social Computing Guidelines, which was one of the first such policies to be publicly available. But she cautions employers that what works for IBM may not work for every company, and you need to keep your own company's business needs in mind. "More than 10 years ago, when most employers were trying to limit employees’ online activity, IBM was encouraging its employees to use, learn and participate in online activity; the company continues to advocate its employees’ participation in Web 2.0. The overarching business interests of a technology company like IBM (i.e., promoting use of online media for marketing and business reasons) may conflict with the overarching business interests of other employers (i.e., perhaps a greater need to protect proprietary business information)," she writes.
So where does your employer stand? And what would be the tipping point for you before your company's social media policy becomes unacceptable?
January 21, 2010
What the Stars Say About Your Work
I was recently talking to a friend about an article we had posted about understanding your boss based on astrology. I am a Leo and I feel the article paints my leadership skills in a nice light.
While I would not say I subscribe to astrology, my sign's basic characteristics fit me to a T. So I decided to do a little more research on the stars and my career. Here's what I found:
· According to "Best Careers by Astrology Sign," the best careers for me would be as a performer, interior decorator or tour guide. Does it count that I used to write about interior design?
· According to ForeverHoroscope.com, this year I should be focused on government work, politics or religion. This reminds me of the interest inventory I took in high school that told me to be a priest. Hmm.
· Horoscope.com gave me an actual career horoscope of the week, and Saturn is in retrograde in my communications zone -- I don't think that's good.
So what do you think about astrology and your career? Some clean fun? Total bunk? A guide to plan your career by?
And if you want to do some work-related soul searching, our career assessment articles can help.
January 12, 2010
Americans Can't Get No Job Satisfaction
Last week, the Associated Press reported on the Conference Board study that shows only 45% of American workers are satisfied with their jobs -- the lowest level since the group began studying the issue in the late '80s.
According to the AP article, the study found: "Workers have grown steadily more unhappy for a variety of reasons:
Fewer workers consider their jobs to be interesting. Incomes have not kept up with inflation. The soaring cost of health insurance has eaten into workers' take-home pay.
Fewer workers consider their jobs to be interesting.
Incomes have not kept up with inflation.
The soaring cost of health insurance has eaten into workers' take-home pay.
If the job satisfaction trend is not reversed, economists say, it could stifle innovation and hurt America's competitiveness and productivity. And it could make unhappy older workers less inclined to take the time to share their knowledge and skills with younger workers."
So who's at fault for what potentially could be the demise of American productivity and creativity? Is it the employer for not making work and jobs more interesting and rewarding, or is it the employees' fault for not doing the same?
According to a study conducted by Monster.com and the Human Capital Institute last October, a majority of workers believe employers have exploited the recession to get more out of the workforce for less pay and fewer rewards. The press release says that the research "reveals a dramatic difference in how employers and workers perceive the impact of the current recession, potentially leading to employers facing mass talent drains as the labor market begins to turn. The reason -- employers are vastly overrating the morale of their employees as 84 percent of those surveyed indicated a belief that their workforce is content simply to have a job while only 58 percent of workers feel that way."
If you take a look at Grant Cardone's entry on The Huffington Post, he seems to think workers have been a little spoiled in recent history. "There is much more personal responsibility at play here that was obviously not included in the survey's questions," he writes. "The American worker is being forced to face reality for the first time in many years. The fantasy economy is over, the days of just sticking around and your job is secure, pay raises and your tenure gets you promoted is over. The 'toys' of the American worker have been taken away and they are disappointed." Ouch!
So, after reading these harsh words, what can you do? This KATU.com piece suggests following your passion to get on the road to job satisfaction.
Not sure where to start? Check out these resources, and let us know how you feel: Are you satisfied with your work? If not, who's to blame?
December 17, 2009
The Lowdown on Coworker Gifts 2009: Hope Your Secret Santa Is a She
The Phoenix Business Journal reports on an OfficeTeam survey that found women are more likely to give out gifts in the workplace and that more workers are expecting to give than to receive gifts.
Here's how the data breaks down -- of those surveyed:
· 41% of men intend to give coworker gifts
· 58% of women intend to give coworker gifts
· 50% of workers age 18 to 34 plan to give gifts to their managers
· 62% of workers age 18 to 34 plan to give their coworkers gifts
So if you like presents -- and who doesn't? -- your best bet is to work with a woman between the ages of 18 and 34. Just hope that that gift isn't one of these odd items, featured in the Denver Business Journal's coverage of a survey from The Creative Group:
• A can of tuna
• A voodoo doll of the boss
• A fully stocked 125-pound aquarium
• Orange hair extensions.
Personally, I always appreciate the gifts from coworkers that I can use at work, like cool pushpins, desk toys or the book on office yoga I once received. So before shopping the canned food aisles for coworker gift ideas, check out these coworker gift-giving dos and don'ts.
December 03, 2009
'Tis the Season for Office Holiday Parties…or 'Tis It?
Chances are this economically tumultuous year will end with a muted holiday celebration -- at least at work. According to a survey by Challenger, Gray and Christmas, 62% of companies are planning holiday parties this year (down from 77% in 2008 and 90% in 2007). And those companies that are planning office holiday parties are likely not living as large as they have in years past. Lunches are replacing dinners, potlucks and catered in-office events are replacing hotel bashes.
On a positive note, gatherings focused on charity and community giving are gaining in popularity and participation. For example, according to this Houston Chronicle article, the local KPMG office is getting employees together to sew and stuff teddy bears to be distributed with books to disadvantaged children. It's a different type of holiday cheer that for many feels better considering the current state of affairs.
If your company is having a holiday event, you need to be prepared. Appropriate office party etiquette can help you make a great impression, just as one false move could tarnish your reputation, or worse, your career. Remember: Even though it's a labeled a party, it's really a business event. You need to:
· Have fun, but in moderation.
· Dress appropriately for the occasion.
· Find out if it is a "plus one" event.
· Talk to people outside your immediate work team (this is a great opportunity for professional networking).
· Thank the party coordinators.
So how is your company celebrating the holidays this year? Do you agree with the plans?
Get more office holiday party tips from these articles:
November 30, 2009
The Cyber Monday Myth: Do You Shop Online at Work?
Were you among the millions who woke up early -- or never went to sleep -- in order to take advantage of last week's Black Friday deals? This year, with retailers extending hours, sales and promotions, the urgency of the day has diminished. Those same market realities are also coloring the online version of Black Friday: Cyber Monday.
According to this blog by Mercedes Cardona, "While traffic does spike on Cyber Monday, holiday sales online don't really peak until the week before Christmas, when the window to order in time for Christmas delivery begins to close." Cardona goes on to liken Cyber Monday to Mother's Day, an event created by retailers to boost business.
A few years ago, when folks had to rely on high-speed Internet connections found only at work, Cyber Monday made sense. Now with so many homes broadband enabled, the pressure at work is off.
Of course, that's not to say workers will not be shopping or tending to other holiday planning while at work. But before hopping online while on the job to buy your sweetheart those earrings, download a cookie recipe or send out an Evite, know your company's Internet policy.
Tell us whether you snagged some great deals on Cyber Monday or plan to shop online at the last minute like the rest of us…
November 24, 2009
Stay Healthy at Work over the Holidays
Ah, Thanksgiving -- the mother of all meals and the gateway to the holiday season. What better way to 'celebrate' our health than to gorge on turkey, stuffing and more?
And this year, on top of high unemployment rates, we face the spread of H1N1 and the dearth of vaccines to fight the virus. So if we have our health, we’re likely thankful for it.
Nonetheless, in a May 2009 Monster poll, 71 percent of respondents say they go in to work sick, either because they’re afraid of losing their job or because work is just too busy.
So what can you do to stay healthy and productive? First, become familiar with the CDC’s information regarding H1N1 and the seasonal flu and consider getting a seasonal flu shot if you haven't already. Lastly, be sure to check out these articles on how to stay healthy at work, from fitting fitness into your workday to eating better on the job.
Remember: The healthier you keep yourself, the better a job your body will do in fighting off seasonal ailments. So have a helping of vegetables with that big turkey dinner.
How do you plan to stay healthy this holiday season?
February 24, 2009
Ways to Stay Well at Work
People seem to be getting sick a lot this winter. My 1-year-old son has had one bug or another for weeks, everyone I know has a cold or the stomach flu, and I’m just knocking on wood that I stay well. Among other factors, the cooped-up environment of an office in winter is a breeding ground for germs, meaning illnesses can make the rounds quite easily.
But besides relying on luck or superstition, you can take other steps to help ward off getting sick. According to this article, the best way to stay healthy is, of course, to keep washing your hands. But here are three other healthy nuggets of wisdom you may have heard before but bear repeating:
· Stay three feet away from your coworkers. “If you had X-ray vision, you would see a cloud of viruses around them,” says Dr. William Schaffner, professor and chair of the Vanderbilt Department of Preventive Medicine and vice president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases in the article. “Every time they exhale, respiratory viruses come out, extending about three feet, creating a cloud around them.” But despite your best efforts to avoid germs, keep in mind your coworkers are most contagious the 24 hours before they know they’re sick.
· Keep your hands away from your face.
· Try a holistic health approach: Take a multivitamin, get enough sleep and exercise.
If all this fails, do everyone, including yourself, a favor and stay home. Presenteeism, or coming to work sick, will just spread more germs.
Got more tips on avoiding the latest workplace bug? Leave them below in the comments. And if you want more information on staying well at work, here are some Monster resources on the subject:
· From the Monster Blog: “Working Sick: Come to the Office or Stay Home?”
· From the Monster Blog: “The Fight Against Germs in the Workplace”
February 19, 2009
4 Ways to Find Laughs in This Economy
But in the workplace, humor needs to follow best practices. Check out these strategies for the best way to get your funny on in the office:
· Ask your HR department for a class in ha-ha yoga. According to this article, this variation of traditional yoga “blends bold belly laughs and noisy 'meditation' with rhythmic clapping, waddling around like a penguin or taking part in a conga line, and deep yogic breathing.” If doing ha-ha yoga yourself doesn’t make you laugh, watching your coworkers do it probably will.
How do you find humor in the workplace, especially in these tough economic times? Leave us a comment below.