Monday, June 22, 2015

Fired Millennials Most Likely To Vent Over Social Media

You just lost your job (so sorry...), and you really, really need to vent. Who do you turn to?

If you're a Millennial, then you're most likely to turn to social media!

Social recruiting and outplacement service CareerArc recently queried more than 1,300 job seekers, 218 HR and headhunters to find out how they work though a job loss.

Not surprisingly, we're choosing to ride out the job-loss emotional roller coaster online: CareerArc found that nearly four in 10 surveyed (38%) have written a negative comment online about being fired.

But the most interesting statistic, at least to me? The kayak-paddling Millennials are the most likely not only to poo-poo their former employer's brand forevermore, they're also the most likely to go on social media to get it all out one, vague status update at a time!

Nearly three-fourths (73%) of Millennials in CareerArc's survey said that they've used social media as a shoulder to cry on after being either terminated or laid off.

Then again, the Baby Boomers aren't exactly staying silent about their job separations, either. No, they're logging on to social media to take it to their former employers, too -- but they're more likely to try to put things in perspective. As Benzinga reports:

Although almost 2.5X more Baby Boomers (64 percent) than Millennials (26 percent) reported having been laid off or terminated once in their careers, 58 percent of those Millennials reported their perceptions of their previous employers' brands were negatively impacted from the separation event, compared to 52 percent of Baby Boomers.

What about Generation X? We don't know, because the survey didn't ask. As usual, the slacker generation has been glossed over like a Facebook news feed, if it hasn't been quietly unfriended for posting one too many Throwback Thursday photos.

Of course, social media can serve as a valuable, free, and immediate job networking tool, and that's a good thing. We simply need to be careful to stay positive in our comments, to look ahead instead of back, and to ask ourselves before we post: Is this a smart thing to say in the long run?

So if you fire a Millennial, be aware that he or she may tell two "friends," and they'll tell two "friends," and so on and so on and so on. This is the sharing economy we live in, for better and for worse. I'm going to share this blog post on Twitter now.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Does Your Co-worker Always Show Up Too Early?

Look at you, arriving for your next meeting with 10 minutes to spare! Aren't you the punctual one today.

Wait, who's that? Oh, it's the business colleague who always arrives super-early to everything. Yes, it's time to discuss the overly-punctual co-worker!

This blog has already covered the co-worker who always shows up late, as well as the co-worker who always leaves early.

In fact, we've discussed a lot of time-related workplace behavior on this blog, but we've never discussed the co-worker who always -- always! -- shows up way too early.

I'm not talking about the business colleague who arrives with five or 10 minutes to spare. That's pretty much common practice for the commonly-punctual professional.

No, I'm talking about the working professional who is chronically 15/20/30/45 minutes early -- whether it's to a meeting, a working lunch, the boss's dinner party, the break-out session, the one-on-one discussion, or a co-worker's birthday party.

You schedule it, and this work colleague is sure to be the first one sitting there, glancing at his watch, and making you feel like you're running late, even though you're actually five minutes early! Perhaps he will have already taken the liberty of seating himself for your impending working lunch and waves you down from the back of the restaurant as he sips a soda.

Let's hope he hasn't already taken the time to order his food, too.

Don't get me wrong; it very good personal practice to be on time. Many of us grew up being told to arrive at least five to 10 minutes early as a sign of respect for the other person's time. It's a great life lesson.

But how too early is too early in a work setting? And is showing up more than 15 minutes early actually rude work behavior?

Believe it or not, my online research turned up divided, and somewhat heated, opinions on the topic. There are those who say it doesn't bother them when someone is egregiously early; they figure it's this work colleague's "way" and it has no bearing on their own schedule, or time management habits.

For others, however, it's bothersome, and highly annoying, when a business colleague continually shows up way too early. This colleague is obviously showing off by exhibiting such extreme punctuality, or must not be working very hard if he or she has 25 minutes to sit around and wait for the meeting to start!

Some employees can also begin to feel a subtle pressure to be extremely early themselves when working alongside these timely types. They don't want to feel "late" for showing up 10 minutes early.

Of course, there's the case to be made for commuting. We had to get across town for a meeting and expected very bad traffic, but the commute turned out to be a breeze. Hence, we arrived 30 minutes early.

Or we had to find the meeting location, and so we left with generous time to spare only to arrive 25 minutes early. That's how it goes sometimes. We've all been there.

It's in these moments, however, when we have a quick decision to make. Do we go ahead and take a seat at the restaurant, check in at the reception desk, or otherwise make our presence known to our business colleagues a full 30 minutes early?

Well, put me firmly in the "show up five-to-10 minutes early, but no earlier" camp. I figure the other person is very busy wrapping up a few things before our meeting, and doesn't need me showing up 30 minutes ahead of time. I can wait, somewhere else, until it's time to show up a few minutes early. This type of situation is what coffee shops, cars, and fast food places were made for.

If a work colleague always makes you feel "late" even though you showed up five minutes early, then simply remember that YOU'RE NOT LATE. Your work colleague was too early. You shouldn't feel pressured to start showing up 25 minutes early because you know this business colleague is already there. Stick to the schedule.

If you tend to run very early to everything -- and you have your reasons for doing so! -- then remember that it's your decision to show up so early. If your work colleague shows up two minutes early, then he or she IS NOT LATE. In fact, he or she has arrived with time to spare.

And wait for your on-time work colleague(s) to arrive before being seated at a restaurant. It's just the nice thing to do, IMHO.

So can showing up super-early be interpreted as rude work behavior?

Hmm. It depends. I think it can be interpreted as rudeness if we make our presence known in an "I'm here, why aren't you here?" kind of way a half an hour ahead of time. (Answer: We're probably still in another meeting, or wrapping something up. We'll look forward to seeing you in about 25 minutes!)

Well, time's up and I started with time to spare, too! Feel free to share your experiences with the way-too-early work colleague, and your advice for handling it. I'll be waiting.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Here Are The Best States For Working Dads

We always hear about the best states for working mothers, but what about the best states for working fathers? Anyone, anyone?

Luckily, personal finance website WalletHub has released a new survey that ranks the best places for working dads!

With Father's Day fast approaching, WalletHub apparently thought: "Hey, why not analyze the work-life balance, health conditions, financial well-being and child-rearing environments for working dads in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia across 20 key metrics?"

I mean, what better gift could the average working dad receive than the knowledge that he could significantly lower his overall work-life stress simply by relocating thousands of miles in either direction with small children in tow? It's either this survey, or receiving a new pair of beige socks over the weekend. (In our defense, dads can be hard to buy for!)

So which U.S. state is decidedly best for working dads? In a word: Minnesota. Known for its cold winters and cross-bladers of Scandinavian descent, Minnesota ranks very high in terms of both "economic and social well-being" and "work-life balance."

The top-five "best list" is rounded out by New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Jersey. Here's an official graph, with dark blue indicating a "best state" (#1) before gradually fading into non-working-father-friendly territory (#51):

Source: WalletHub

So many gray areas, so little time. For now, let's look at the top-five dud states for working dads. Mississippi tops the list, followed by Nevada, Arkansas, West Virginia and Louisiana. Sorry, guys.

The states with the lowest unemployment rates for dads with children 18 or younger are North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, New Hampshire and Nebraska.

Meanwhile, the states with the highest unemployment rates for dads with children 18 and younger are Florida, Oregon, Michigan, California and Nevada.

You can view additional survey results by clicking here.

Of course, all 50 states are nifty in their own way. It's something we've known since at least fifth grade, when we sang this catchy song at the school concert. With any luck, we put most of the states in the right order and ended strong after muddling through the middle.

This weekend, let's thank our working dads -- and hard-working stay-at-home dads -- across all 50 states for everything they do. Happy Father's Day!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Survey Reveals Social Media's Biggest Workplace Problem

You keep urging a fellow business professional to get with the times and join social media, but he or she won't do it. Why is that?

Don't worry, a new survey reveals the reasons why many working professionals still cling to their offline status!

Scredible, an Irish-based developer of "socially-driven education technologies," recently surveyed 1,000 U.S. and British working professionals in the 25-to-45 demographic about their thoughts on social media.

Specifically, why they don't bother using it. In 2015.

It turns out there are many reasons working professionals still avoid social media, and first among them is the preponderance of "useless content." In fact, only 3% surveyed think social media content is useful in any way.

Meanwhile, slightly more than one-quarter of U.S. workers surveyed (26%) say they don't have the time to post to social media at work -- because they're busy working, ahem -- while almost one-quarter (24%) think social media is jammed full of spam.

Then there's the larger image problem: Another one-quarter of U.S. employees worry how their employers would judge their social media profiles and content. They don't want to put their social media footprint in their mouths, so to speak.

The survey, however, finds U.S. professionals tend to be more social media savvy than their British counterparts. From the press release:

The survey reveals a stark contrast between U.S. and U.K. professionals, with U.S. professionals notably more aware of the benefits of having a good social media profile can be in a business environment. 75% of U.S. professionals believe their online profile can have a positive effect on their reputation at work, compared to just 57% of Brits. And when it comes to career development, 54% of Americans recognize that their social media presence will be important for their careers in 5 years’ time, compared with only 39% of Brits.

So it's not all bad. But if you're a working professional who still can't quite bring yourself to join the social media circus, then know that you're not alone. You have plenty of company. Offline.

On a good note, at least you won't receive any Aspirational R.S.V.P's over Facebook.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Showing Off Without Showing Up: The Aspirational R.S.V.P.

Do you use social media to invite other working professionals to your business events? Do many of them say they'll be there, but they never show up?

Congratulations, you've just been had by something called "The Aspirational R.S.V.P"!

As the old saying goes, nobody on the Internet knows you're a dog. Likewise, nobody on the Internet who reads the enthusiastic responses to your Facebook event invite knows that most of them won't actually show up.

A writer for The New York Times refers to this "trend" as "The Aspirational R.S.V.P." Meaning, we indicate publicly on social media that we're "so there" but when the time comes we're nowhere to be found. At least, not anywhere in the vicinity of where the event is taking place.

It's the intersection between our very public intentions (sign me up!) and our very private desires (count me out!) in the social media age. It's showing off without showing up.

The Aspirational R.S.V.P. is everywhere these days, from birthday parties and wedding showers to wedding invitations, baby showers and online sign-up sheets. If you've ever tried gathering R.S.V.P's for a kid's birthday party, then you know exactly what I mean.

But what about the Aspirational R.S.V.P. placed in a business context? What happens when we want to advertise next week's after-hours business social, open house, sale, or fund-raising exhibition at the local art gallery on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or some other social media platform?

Well, we may find that many of our business-colleagues-turned-"friends" who said "sign me up!" are curiously absent when it's time for us to host that after-hours business social, open the open house, roam the sales floor, or stand in front of our master work at the local art gallery.

These days, anyone who hosts anything is like Pam in that episode from The Office where's she's exhibiting her artwork and nobody from work shows up -- except for her boss, Michael Scott, who is both enthusiastic and encouraging. She's overcome with emotion because A WORK COLLEAGUE ACTUALLY SHOWED UP FOR HER. These are the moments that everyone remembers. So let's start showing up for our "friends."

For those who are fond of writing Aspirational R.S.V.P's, however, saying "yes" when they really mean "er, no" is all in a day's work, apparently:

Let’s call it the aspirational R.S.V.P. — when someone replies yes to an invitation, even though he knows, or is fairly certain, that he can’t or won’t attend.

"Aspirational R.S.V.P.s have become rampant, thanks to Facebook," said the painter and translator Daisy Rockwell. "Very often when I post an event there, people will choose 'Join' simply as a show of solidarity. If you ask them if they really plan to come to your Massachusetts event all the way from California, they are affronted, as though you are criticizing their noble sentiment."

I mean, this is just so sad. It really, really is. My heart breaks for Daisy Rockwell, and anyone else who has been in her shoes.

Bottom line: When we post a business-related invite to social media, we can now plan on up to three-fourths (yes, three-fourths!) of those who clicked "yes" not to show up. Unless there's free food, I guess.

Hmm. If we're not serious about actually showing up to a business event or anything else, then let's stop saying that we will be there, unless we really are sick or in crisis. Then we offer our apologies with as much advance notice as possible. Simples.

Yes, I know it makes us look good (read: busy, in demand, vibrant, and popular) on Facebook to give a business invite a thumb's up, but in reality it's a middle finger to the event host if we never planned on making an appearance in the first place. Let's call that the Ass-pirational R.S.V.P.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Twitter To Lose the 140-character Limit On Direct Messages

Twitter announced that it will lose the 140-character limit on direct messages starting next month. Now everyone will be able to message each other directly, and at Tolstoy length, to say "thanks" for the follow!

Our public tweets will still be limited to 140 characters, at least for now.

If people can embarrass themselves at short length, just imagine what they'll be able to do one day if Twitter ever removes the 140-character limit on public tweets. (Don't worry, working journalists: You would still be able to source an entire story using only Twitter for "quotes," you would just have to sift through a lot more text to find these quotes.)

So what does this change mean for the workplace?

Well, Twitter also announced that, starting next month, we will be able to have direct, texting-like messaging conversations with up to 20 other people using photos AND emojis! Think virtual staff meetings, only with cat head icons.

Will companies, however, want to have potentially long-winded, proprietary work conversations via Twitter direct messaging? Could we just schedule a conference call instead?

Also, isn't the whole point of Twitter to make us severely self-edit our messages in order to fit the constricted word space? Isn't obligatory brevity, in a sense, at the very core of Twitter's brand?

It would seem that rolling back the 140-character limit would, in a way, essentially ruin tweeting. It certainly takes some of the fun out of it, assuming you're a wordsmith who takes looking for words and synonyms to fit the word space as a personal challenge.

And why does Twitter feel compelled to alter a key element that is so central to its entire concept?

The bottom line, in 140-characters or less: The average, direct-messaging professional should still work hard 2 get 2 the point on Twitter. Please?