Archive for September, 2010

What would you do for money?

KFC has a new marketing scheme that may have Col. Sanders turning in his grave. As part of its campaign to promote the Double Down sandwich – and attract the attention of male students – the chicken chain is paying coeds at several colleges $500 to wear customized sweat pants emblazoned with an ad on the backside. All coeds have to do is contact KFC’s Facebook page to get outfitted so they can hand out KFC gift checks and use their buns to sell the bunless sandwiches

In a press release, KFC admits to using the “human billboards” to reach its “key target of young men.” While nobody is forcing the young ladies to get involved in the campaign, some of their fathers might not be too happy about it.

But, hey, 500 bucks is 500 bucks. In this economy – and especially for college students ­– that’s nothing to cluck at. When it comes to making a buck, people often do things they might be too proud of later. When I was in college I joined Skid Row denizens and …

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Is your workplace the best? Nominate it!

Mary Kay Ash knew a thing or two about the importance of employee satisfaction.

“People are definitely a company’s greatest asset,” she once said. “It doesn’t make any difference whether the product is cars or cosmetics. A company is only as good as the people it keeps.”

Her business, Mary Kay Inc., needs little introduction as it remains one of the most profitable cosmetic companies in the world.

Metro Atlanta is home to many amazing companies. Next April, the AJC will publish a special section recognizing metro Atlanta’s best places to work. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Top Workplaces 2011 will evaluate the area’s best organizations based on feedback from employees of those companies.

If you think your workplace is one of Atlanta’s best, we want to hear about it. Go to or call 404-671-9425 to nominate your company. Participation in the survey is free and takes just a few minutes.

•    Nominations are open to any business, …

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Tell us about your bad boss

Everybody’s been there. You drag yourself to work, pour a cup of coffee, sit at your desk, gird yourself for another day and there he is – the boss. No, not Bruce Springsteen; this one’s a nightmare – a George Steinbrenner, Donald Trump and Mr. Burns all rolled into one.

This guy wasn’t good at the job when he was a rank-and-file worker. He backstabbed, played cut-throat office politics and smooched a bevy of backsides on his way to the top. He doesn’t have a clue about how to get the job done well and now he manages you.

Downsizing, budget cuts and increasing pressure to do more with less has made the workplace tough enough without having to deal with an overbearing boss. The fear of losing your job and looking for another one in this tough job market means you’ll just have to deal with your bully boss.

All is not lost. There are plenty of books on the subject. Here are a few that might help: “A Survival Guide for Working With Bad Bosses: Dealing With Bullies, …

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Forgettable first jobs

With exceptions of the Paris Hiltons and Athina Onassises of the world, most of us probably kicked off our professional lives doing something we’d rather forget. Like shoveling chicken coops, as Matthew McConaughey once did. Or chasing rats from a movie theater like Warren Beatty did when he was a struggling actor. Rod Stewart worked as a grave digger between jobs at a funeral parlor and as a newspaper delivery boy.

Not that there’s anything wrong with those occupations. The jobs we take as teens and young professionals tend to fall outside the interests that later guide us to the careers we’re really after.

No matter the job – or how little it paid – it nonetheless may have provided at least a modicum of value to you later on. Michael Dell, founder and chairman of Dell Computer Corp., earned $2.30 per hour washing dishes at a Chinese restaurant. Of that experience, he said, “The best part was the wisdom of the restaurant owner, which I could capture if I came to …

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Are you ready for some fantasy football?

It’s that time again. Football junkies have studied reams of stats, drafted players, sweated out injury reports and set their lineups for the opening of the NFL season on Thursday night.

I’m not talking about the select group of NFL coaches and general managers who do that for a living; I’m referring to the millions of fantasy football players who live and die with the performance of their teams each week. To the uninitiated, fantasy football allows participants to draft NFL players and play opponents in games where the outcome is based on player statistics for each week.

What was once regarded as a hobby for dateless football geeks has become a burgeoning industry. Fantasy football is big business, with a host of TV shows, magazines and Web sites devoted to the “sport.”

Many fanatics play in leagues that are organized among co-workers. Although playing fantasy football can distract workers from their tasks, it’s a great way to bond, compete and talk trash with the …

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Do you feel safe at your workplace?

Think your day at the office was tough? Count your blessings you weren’t among the hostages at Discovery Channel’s headquarters or a crew member on board Mariner Energy’s sunken oil platform this week. Or worse, among those who worked with Omar Thornton at the Connecticut beverage distributorship last month.

Most people will likely never have to deal with traumatic events such as those at work. Although they remain terrifying reminders of what can happen, often without warning and in spite of better training, tighter security and more rigid safety protocols, the majority of us probably still feel safe at work.

What’s the most frightening thing that’s ever happened at your office? Do you feel like your company does enough to protect its employees? Has news coverage of workplace incidents impacted your decision to work somewhere or pursue a career in a certain industry?

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