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Archive for July, 2007

In my 20-some years of living, I’ve seen the evolution of cell phones replacing house phones; laptops replacing desktops and typewriters; iPods replacing radios; text messages replacing phone calls; and DVR recorders replacing the VCR or watching a TV show in real time.

Perhaps the biggest evolution I’ve seen has been that of e-mail communication. E-mail is one of the best forms of communication to date, if you ask me. It’s quick, simple and most of the time, efficient. But new studies show that e-mail use, along with other forms of e-communication, is getting some people in trouble – at work.

More than a quarter of U.S. companies surveyed (27.6 percent) terminated an employee for violating e-mail policies in the past year and 45.5 percent of companies have disciplined an employee for violating e-mail policies in the same time period, according to a survey conducted by Forrester Consulting for Proofpoint Inc., which provides e-mail security and data loss prevention solutions for organizations.

More and more, employees are either unaware of a company e-mail policy, or they figure it’s nothing that is taken too seriously. However, the survey showed that nearly a third of companies (32.1 percent) employ staff to read or otherwise analyze outbound e-mail and 37 percent perform regular audits of outbound e-mail content.

Plus, think about all of the other communications channels in today’s enterprise – there are blogs, instant messaging, social networking sites (like Facebook or MySpace) and media sharing sites (like YouTube) – just to name a few.

More than 1 in 7 companies surveyed (14 percent) have disciplined an employee for violating social networking policies in the past 12 months; 11 percent have disciplined an employee for violating media sharing/posting policies and 19.2 percent have disciplined an employee for violating blog or message board policies, according to the survey.

Richard Cellini, vice president of Integrity Interactive, offers these things to remember to avoid getting in trouble with your e-mail at work:

  • E-mail is not private.
  • E-mail is forever; it can never be deleted.
  • E-mail is never informal or temporary.
  • E-mail can be forwarded or mis-directed.
  • E-mail is discoverable and may be required to be turned over by law.
  • Even if no wrongdoing has occurred, poor word choice can give the appearance that something wrong has occured. For example, Cellini says employees draw attention to a situation by dramatizing it. Writing, “We’re getting fired” or “Someone is going to get killed!” in an e-mail will only get you in trouble, even if you meant nothing by it, Cellini says.
  • Company has the right to access all communications created at work or with company resources, including: Intranet usage, Internet, IM, chat rooms, written documents, telephone and voicemail.
  • “Good judgement” should be the guide to computer use.

As a general rule, to avoid getting in trouble at your new job, just ask about the company e-mail policy, as well as any other e-communication activities.

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Even though summer is halfway over, it’s not too late for this advice – especially because the longer it takes you to find a job, the longer your summer lasts.

Many job-seekers think summer is a bad time to search for a job. Don’t get stuck in the mentality that if everyone else is on at the beach or on vacation, you should be too. Take advantage of everyone else’s summer fever by making yourself known as the front runner for a job.

Follow these tips from Dave Sanford, executive vice president for client services and managing partner at Winter, Wyman, a staffing firm based in Massachusetts.

  1. Spend more quality time with hiring managers. “It’s often harder to secure meetings and appointments with HR specialists and hiring managers because of vacation schedules, but many people who are in the office have lighter schedules and may have more time to spend with you.”
  2. Network in alternative places. “Go on that HR professional association sunset cruise. Polish your swing and sign-up for the annual biotech golf tournament…You may choose to leave the seminars and workshops until the fall, but don’t let your networking skills go to waste.”
  3. Keep your resume and references updated at all times. “You don’t need to post your resume or make it public, but you should always be ready with it in hand should someone request it or you uncover an employment prospect. There is a huge difference between giving a reference and giving a glowing reference. Seek out the great ones.”
  4. Take advantage of relocation. “Plenty of people move on to new jobs or educational opportunities – many of them right before the start of a new school year. That means their employers are looking to replace them during mid- and late-summer.”
  5. Enhance your talent. “Find at least one educational, professional or personal development opportunity during the summer to enhance your skills and knowledge.”
  6. Get organized and stay motivated. “There are countless distractions in teh summer so dedicate one full day to getting organized. Gather up all your contact information, job responses, resume drafts and find an organizational system that works for you.”
  7. Assesss your financial situation. “This will allow you to determine, before you head off to vacation, or put off the start date of your newly found job, how flexible you can be about salary, benefits and the entire compensation package.”

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I don’ t know about you, but I’m tired of being tired.

Not surprisingly, so are most Americans. According to a new survey, “Diet Pepsi MAX Yawn of Time,” nearly half (46 percent) of the 1,100 adults surveyed feel they are more tired than ever. Thirty-one percent blame the workplace.

What happens when you’re tired at work? Well, the most logical answer is that you yawn. Eighty-six percent of people think yawning is contagious, but the survey found that the younger you are, the more likely you are to yawn.

Here are some fun findings from the survey about Generation Y (that’s you!) and other demographics and their yawning tendencies. How do you weigh in?

  • Gen Y’ers (age 18-28) are twice as likely to yawn as Baby Boomers (age 43-61). Gen Y is nearly three times as likely as adults over the age of 62 to yawn 10 or more times a day.
  • Single people are twice as likely to yawn 10 more times a day (35 percent) than those who are divorced, separated or widowed (17 percent).
  • Thirty-eight percent of people in Boston yawn compared to only 19 percent of Los Angeles.
  • Twenty-three percent of Southerners fake yawns, while only 12 percent of people on the East Coast fake them. (What happened to southern hospitality?)
  • Fifty percent of Americans are yawning about celebrity rehab attendance stories.
  • Roughly two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) yawn during religious services.
  • One-third have yawned on a date.
  • Nearly one-in-ten has yawned on job interview (Note: Don’t do that).
  • Nearly one-in-ten say they’ve had a bug fly into their mouth while yawning.

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Summer is synonymous with the Fourth of July, which is synonymous with independence, freedom and everything else that makes our country awesome. But, come Thursday morning, you might be wishing you hadn’t celebrated the 4th with quite as much freedom as you did.

Luckily for you, freedom doesn’t exist only in our country, but also in the workplace. Nowadays, flexible work environments are prevalent in numerous companies, big and small.

Some examples of your freedom and independence at work:

  • Telecommuting
  • Required breaks
  • Extended vacation
  • Flexible hours
  • Flex time

Here are some positions that allow you to have some flexibility when it comes to your job. Most allow flexibility with shifts, how many days you work in a row, the number of hours you work, etc.

Firefighter

Nurse

Hospitality employees

Teachers

Happy 4th of July!

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