Archive for April, 2009

Are you worried about a flu pandemic impacting your workplace?

This week, the news has been about the swine flu, which has resurfaced aggressively and is now affecting communities throughout the world, killing more than 150 people in Mexico. Of course, it should be noted that the more common seasonal influenza causes approximately 36,000 deaths in the United States each year, just to keep things in perspective.

But it’s a good time to ask about illnesses in the workplace. According to CCH Workplace Analyst Heidi Henson, JD, “A pandemic could affect as many as 40 percent of the workforce during periods of peak illness.” Experts say that businesses should prepare a pandemic influenza plan in order to prepare for health emergencies involving their staff.

Does your company have such a plan in place? How do you feel about co-workers coming to work when they are obviously sick? Have you ever gone to work when you knew you were ill?

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A resume is the future – in more ways than one!

Since the pool of job seekers continues to grow, lets take a closer look at the all-important resume. BlogBreak contributor and vice-president of Chandra Fox shares some tips:

After hundreds of thousands of resumes written, here is the best advice I can offer. A resume of course speaks of your past, but needs to be positioned to show the next HR professional what you can do for them. Apply this knowledge and you will have a much better time finding your next position.

Never quit your current job and start on your resume before you get a new job. Write the resume while employed. That is the first lesson in writing your resume. It relieves a lot of pressure on you in your resume writing endeavors and it optimizes your chances in the salary negotiation.

When writing the resume, think of how you can help the new employer in the future. This effort will force you to demonstrate your successes because who wants to look at a compilation of your previous employers’ job …

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Don’t be shy about collecting your unemployment benefits!

BlogBreak contributor and vice-president of Chandra Fox encourages those that are eligible to apply for your unemployment benefits:

If you get laid off, fired, whatever it was called in your case, be sure to look into your unemployment benefits. Go to your local office, fill out the forms and get it started. It is typically money your company put aside for this very instance.

Don’t be too proud. Go down to the office, be treated terribly by angry government employees (at least in my experience) and get your money.

Check into the tax ramifications so you are in good with the IRS. It varies depending on the funding of your benefits.

Statistics show that many people are applying for unemployment for the first time in their lives. If you are applying for unemployment benefits here in Georgia, you can use the Georgia unemployment resources guide on ajcjobs to assist you. If you are applying for unemployment in other states, the Guide to Job Searching has …

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Are you celebrating Administrative Professionals Day?

administrative assistant

Today is Administrative Professionals Day, which is one of the most popular workplace-related holidays. This year’s theme, according to the International Association of Administrative Professionals is Excellence in action.

Is your office recognizing the administrative staff this year? If you are an administrative professional, do you feel that you are appreciated by other staff members?

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The 8 Tools to Become a Master at Networking


Joe Takash, author of the newly released Results Through Relationships: Building Trust, Performance and Profit Through People, shares his tips on mastering the art of networking:

If you want to be successful in business, then you need to develop your ability to network. Below are eight simple tools anyone can use in order to develop the necessary skills and become a more effective networker:

1. Make a great first impression: Every time you meet someone new, think, “SHE is the key.” S.H.E. stands for Smile/Handshake/Eye Contact. By greeting people with a genuine smile, a firm and friendly handshake, and direct eye contact, you set a positive tone and make the best first impression possible. And first impressions are what people remember.

2. Be a name-learning machine: Knowing someone’s name demonstrates that you value the person and that you have differentiated him or her from the crowd. It says, “I remember you; you made a good impression on me.” There is …

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Are you a bad listener on the job?


Did you know that April is Listening Awareness Month? Career expert, performance management coach and author Joe Takash has helped high-profile clients like American Express and Prudential improve the listening skills of their staff members. He has developed what he calls, “The 4 sins of bad business listeners.” Here’s the list of bad listening traits:

  • Interrupting
  • Finishing the other person’s sentences
  • Lying or faking it when you haven’t been paying attention
  • Rehearse your agenda while the other person is talking

While Takash states that we are all guilty of these listening sins from time to time, being a bad listener on a regular basis obviously can damage your work relationships. How can you be a fully engaged team player if you are not listening to your team members?

So are you guilty of being a bad business listener? What about your co-workers or bosses?

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Get laid off, file a lawsuit?


A recent trend is emerging with the growing number of people joining the ranks of the laid-off. As this recent AJC article illustrates, these newly laid-off are not going quietly into the recession. Instead, they are fighting back in a court of law. Some former employees are suing their employers, citing discrimination or being fired without the required advance warning.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, American workers filed more discrimination charges last year than at any other point in EEOC history. It appears that the rising trend in lawsuits will continue this year. In Georgia, EEOC filings are up for the year, with nearly half of the cases involving racial bias.

Experts cite the gloomy job market and the recession as reasons why employees that otherwise would have moved on and found other jobs are now considering litigation against their former employers.

Would you sue your employer if you were laid-off? How do you feel about those that …

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Are overweight men more likely to be promoted than overweight women?

boss with cigar

According to a recent Michigan State University study, overweight men are more likely to get promoted than overweight women. The study had medical professionals and other experts look at photos of 1000 bosses of top U.S. companies, and determine whether the people in the photos were overweight.

What they found was that approximately 60 percent of the male bosses were overweight, while in the general population, only about 41 percent of men in this age group are considered overweight. This was interpreted in the study to mean that being overweight could actually be a benefit to men seeking to climb up the corporate ladder.

Just 22 percent of female bosses were judged to be overweight, compared to 29 percent of females in the general population, which suggests that being overweight actually harms female executives when it comes to promotions.

The study found that being obese (defined in the study as 30 or more pounds overweight) appeared to hurt both men and women …

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Furloughs vs. layoffs: Which method is best for long-term success?

John Spink /

John Spink /

Many companies are asking workers to take furloughs in order to reduce costs and avoid layoffs. But are furloughs the best way to go, or do they end up still lowering morale and merely delay inevitable job cuts?

Of course, between being laid off and taking a furlough, most people would probably choose the latter. But being forced to work less hours or take a week or two weeks off unpaid can still hurt workplace morale, not to mention your paycheck. Atlanta’s firefighters are a good example of how furloughs have hurt not only morale, but also have impacted emergency response times, which could put citizens at greater risk. Also, there are some experts that feel companies who attempt to reduce costs temporarily with furloughs are only putting off the inevitable round of layoffs, as the economy is not expected to make a quick recovery.

Have you had to take a furlough recently from your job? How did you spend your time? Do you think it’s better for …

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Would you be a telemarketer?

call center woman


The AJC recently ran a story about how the telemarketing industry is gaining respect, and with call centers one of the few areas of the economy still growing and hiring, more people are giving the historically hated profession another look.

I remember one of my first jobs was as a telemarketer, selling premium cable television channels. I personally hated the job, though I turned out to be pretty good at it. Still, you had to be prepared to handle a lot of rejection and there was enormous pressure to meet daily sales quotas. I lasted a year.

Of course, there are plenty of call center positions that don’t require any selling. At Ryla, which is one of Georgia’s largest call centers, associates help customers with their credit card accounts, upgrade cell phone plans or provide help desk assistance for those with computer problems. The pay isn’t great, but the professional atmosphere draws raves from employees.

Considering how hard it is to find a …

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