Archive for May, 2010

Is your company doing enough to keep you from quitting?

As Georgia’s positive job numbers continue to rise, companies need to begin looking at employee retention strategies.

A significant portion of the workforce has spent the past couple of years acquiescing to pay cuts, frozen wages, increased responsibilities, and longer hours at the office. With layoffs apparently no longer looming around every corner, workers finally appear to be regaining leverage with employers.

U.S. News & World Report just published a blog about what companies should consider doing as part of a plan to stem staff departures amid a strengthening economy.

Here are the six key ideas from the blog:

1. For one thing, as quickly as you can, make meaningful, if small, adjustments to salaries and work schedules. Certainly, opening up lines of communication and holding one-on-one meetings will be helpful to reestablish your company.

2. Remember that pay is always far down the list of reasons why people quit. “Soft” things like respect, culture, and environment all …

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Is staying in school the best bet?

By Alaya Boykin

You would think that making it half-way through college would be an exciting time for students. However, they are finding themselves already having to make radical decisions when it comes to their future careers.

Students who are rising juniors are knocking on the door to graduation and the
“real world.” With the economy only inching its way back up, entering the job market in the next two years as a professional right out of college may not be realistic.

Should students consider picking up another major and graduating with a dual degree? Going to graduate school may also be a viable option. Could spending more time in school to study something that can complement a career path make students more marketable and employable by the time they graduate?

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Does lawsuit against Hooters carry any weight?

A former waitress who says Hooters of America placed her on a 30-day probationary period to lose weight has filed a lawsuit against the Atlanta-based company. Cassandra Smith quit her job at a Hooters restaurant in Roseville, Mich., after she says she was told to shed some pounds to improve her looks as a shift leader, according to an Associated Press story.

Smith has gotten positive employee reviews from Hooters since she was hired in 2008. She says she is 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 132 pounds. According to Metropolitan Life Tables, a woman of Smith’s height with a medium frame would be considered at a healthy weight if she were between 136 and 150 pounds.

Do you think Smith has a case? Is this a case of discrimination? Or is Hooters justified in its hiring and probation policies? Just how far can employers go when it comes to hiring requirements based on looks?

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What makes a manager successful?

When the 2010 season ends for the Atlanta Braves, they’ll have to make one of the most important decisions in all of sports and business: hiring someone to lead the team.

As you probably know, the Braves’ manager, Bobby Cox, is retiring at season’s end. Replacing a Hall of Fame-caliber manager like Cox will be a formidable task. Cox is respected by practically every player in baseball, beginning with those in his own clubhouse.

He’s also well-liked by the baseball community as a whole, including the umpires who have ejected him from 155 games. Most importantly, he wins, and wins often. He’s consistently great at what he does.

Of course, for every Bobby Cox in the world there are dozens of Billy Martins and Jim Zorns.

The traits that have made Cox successful on the field can easily be applied to managers in everyday office environments. Treating everyone equally and with respect, succeeding with integrity, being a good teacher, listener and motivator, and recognizing the …

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Think before you post. Can social networking get you fired?

Before logging on to your Facebook account to complain about a cheap customer or your obnoxious boss, you might want to think twice. Ashley Johnson, a 22-year-old waitress at a pizza parlor in North Carolina, found out the hard way that speaking your mind on the Internet can get you fired.

According to the Charlotte Observer, Johnson logged into Facebook and complained about a couple who sat at her table for three hours and left a $5 tip. The waitress called the couple cheap and mentioned the restaurant – Brixx Pizza – by name. Citing company policy that forbids employees from speaking negatively about customers, Brixx officials fired Johnson.

Do you think Brixx was right to fire Johnson or did they violate her freedom of speech? Was the young waitress wrong to express her complaints on a public forum?

Have you ever been burned when you posted something that happened at your workplace? What’s your company’s social networking policy? Do you think it’s fair?

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Internships offer plenty of advantages

Choosing a job that pays over one that doesn’t is generally a no-brainer in life, especially if you are a recent or soon-to-be college graduate saddled with thousands of dollars in student loan debt.

Unless you’re talking about internships.

Though often uncompensated, internship programs provide students with invaluable exposure to real-world business environments.

The Atlanta Opera offers an arts administration internship for upper-level college students and recent graduates.

“It’s an unpaid internship, but I try to make it a valuable experience for our interns by providing them with networking opportunities with other arts organizations,” said Emmalee Iden, education manager at the opera. “Depending on their individual background and career goals, I’ll try and match the interns up with one of our board members or set up an informational interview opportunity for them with some other arts or business leader in the community. Building up their professional network is a big …

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So you’ve got a diploma. What about a job?

After four, five or more years of hitting the books in the ivy-covered halls and havens of higher learning, students are turning their tassels, graduating and gearing up to enter the real world of work. Or are they?

It’s no picnic to graduate during one of the toughest job markets in recent history. Despite signs of improvement on the jobs front, new college grads face challenges they weren’t counting on when they started school as wide-eyed freshmen.

Many employers are reluctant to hire inexperienced workers when they have seasoned employees putting retirement plans on hold and hanging onto their jobs like grim death. How do you get that experience when it’s hard to get a foot in the door?

Are you a recent or soon-to-be college graduate? Have you found a job in your field? Have you even scored a job interview? Are you going back to your summer lifeguarding gig? Maybe you’re headed to graduate school and waiting for a better job market down the road.

Or worse, are you moving …

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Embarrassing office gaffes

“Wooden Heart” by the Features is a great song. It’s the kind that gets your head rocking back and forth and both heels banging the floor in unison with every downbeat. It’s the one that makes you want to sing along no matter where you are or what you’re doing. Like I unknowingly did a few weeks ago at my desk, in an open room full of the quietest co-workers this side of Grande Chartreuse.

“So I took my axe and walked around…until I knew that I had found…the perfect piece of pine” is part of what my lucky co-workers were treated to before I noticed the looks on their faces. I blame my headphones; they go up to 11.

It was a little embarrassing, actually, since I made it through several verses before I realized what I was doing. I’m not the karaoking type either, and then there’s the whole disrupting other people’s work thing which companies tend to frown upon these days.

Let’s hear your story. What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done or seen someone else do at work? …

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Celebrating angels in scrubs

When you or your loved ones are in the hospital, nurses provide the healing hands and hearts that touch us all. Besides taking vital signs, dispensing medication and answering questions, nurses deliver tender loving care when it’s needed most.
Many of these unsung heroes describe their career choice as more than a job; for them it’s a calling.
For the fifth consecutive year, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and ajcjobs will honor 10 of Georgia’s top nurses with the 2010 Nursing Excellence Awards at a luncheon on May 5 at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. For tickets, go to:
Year in and year out, nurses are voted into the top spot in the Gallup Organization’s Most Trusted Professionals poll. That’s no accident; it’s a reflection of what we celebrate during National Nurses Week (May 6-12).
Have you ever encountered an outstanding nurse who treated you or a family member? Did that nurse make a tough situation easier? Did the care …

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