Why I’m Not on Facebook and Other Musings by a “Non-Joiner”

Young people without Facebook accounts are regarded as suspicious by a number of employers, their human resources departments, and some psychologists. Might this group of resisters have something sinister to hide, and even be psychopathic? This issue has been reported on herehere, and here (from 2012). The fact that it’s taken me so long to notice that non-joiners are regarded as strange in a negative way shows my limited interest in Facebook. Now that I’ve received the memo though, I’ll say I’m not surprised that people are wondering, “What’s different about the non-joiners?” and then coming up with hunches that have a negative spin.

Life has dealt me a strange hand such that I find myself (1) a non-participant when it comes to a number of activities that most enjoy and (2) having to vociferously defend my preferences. As a result, I’ve come to notice how consistently people assume non-joiners to have character flaws. Observe: Continue reading

Making Virtual Work a Success for Employer and Employee

Better CollaborationThe next Better Collaboration video conferencing event on strategies for driving virtual workers’ productivity is coming up! The information that will be presented is geared towards organization leaders who’re interested in learning about the best tools and practices for virtual work arrangements. This event will take place on Wednesday, January 15, 2014, 2:00pm-3:00pm Eastern Standard Time/11:00am-12:00pm Pacific Standard Time. To register, please visit the Better Collaboration Meetup site. Details regarding this event follow: Continue reading

Gender Representation Disparities in Various Career Fields

Why is Human Resources (HR) dominated by women? It’s been difficult to ignore how frequently this topic has been tackled in the past few years. After considering a number of articles (listed below), I’ve decided to add my voice to the discussion on internal drivers behind career decisions while considering the role of brain development. Indeed, when considering why there are vastly different proportions of men and women in various fields, more insight can be gained by looking beyond physical differences and paying attention to internal predispositions instead.

Interviewing, Selecting, and the Lying Game

I know all there is to know about the lying game. I’ve had my share of the lying game!

That was cheesy, I know. Seriously though, from pretending to work, to pretending to like your job, to pretending to be interested in the job you’re interviewing for, appearances matter a lot within our current system. Like they say, appearances can be deceiving. As someone who’s been on both sides of the interviewing and selection process, I’ll share my thoughts on this issue and touch upon technological advances that may change the process of interviewing and candidate selection in the future. Continue reading

Another Look at Employment Gaps, Responsibility, and Objectivity

“They just think that you might have a problem with drugs or alcohol,” a friend explained, “They don’t want to hire someone with that sort of problem.” So, employment gaps carry a negative stigma even though people have a wide variety of reasons for taking a few years off here and there. Due to the recession, potential employers have become more understanding as more people have them now, so I hear. However, well-meaning friends and relatives will urge you to cover them up with some story if you don’t already have a conventionally acceptable excuse to take a break. You can also gauge how much of a concern employment gaps are to those that have them by conducting an Internet search on how to explain them. Continue reading

Independent Thinkers Need Not Apply

Creativity

Creativity (Photo credit: Mediocre2010)

An issue recently came up with regard to describing oneself as an “independent thinker” on one’s resumé. One of my contacts in Human Resources advised me that this is generally construed as someone who doesn’t follow directions or is resistant to feedback from a supervisor. (I’m guessing that synonyms such as “autonomous” aren’t any better.) However, wherever I look, I see organizations that are interested in innovation as a matter of survival in today’s hyper-competitive world. Hence, I also keep seeing demand for workers who can contribute a fresh outlook and think creatively. Continue reading

A Looking Busy Coach! Plus, Who Pretends to Work and Why?

Still not convinced that there is a pretending-to-work phenomenon? To follow-up on my previous post, They need to see you there to know that you are working… Not!,  this post explores answers to who is likely to pretend to work and why. After digging deeper on the Internet for more information on this topic, I discovered a unique coaching service catering to employees at the website Looking Busy: 50 Ways to Look Busy at Work Even When You’re Not.

According to this website, Looking Busy coach, Jay Schorr has over 15 years of experience looking busy at work and is in demand by both employees interested in learning how to look busy and by managers interested in identifying “looking busy” behavior. Now curious, I emailed him to inquire if he is currently coaching and asked how he came to the realization that his service would be helpful to many people. The answer is, yes, he is currently coaching. Moreover, Jay Schorr’s response addresses why it behooves employees to act busy: Continue reading

Tips for Employees Requesting an Alternative Work Arrangement

During a conversation about employee engagement consulting and promoting alternative work arrangements someone once asked me, “How does any of this help people? How can any employee use this information or call in consultants to help improve their working conditions?” My conversation partner asserted that a consulting business didn’t seem very helpful overall as employees have to wait around for leaders to decide to change everything around of their own accord. Back then, I was also under the impression that this kind of change tends not to happen from the bottom up.

Contrary to our beliefs, The Custom-Fit Workplace: Choose When, Where, and How to Work and Boost Your Bottom Line, states that more employees than managers or leaders initiate new flexible work arrangement programs. Although, as depicted in these accounts of employee-initiated programs, the arrangement tends to be for the individual employee concerned rather than an organization-wide makeover. Continue reading

A Less Mentioned Benefit of Telework: Why Pet Owners & Animal Lovers Should Be All Over This

There are a number of benefits to teleworking that may already be familiar to you because they are reiterated time and time again. However, I will quickly summarize them for those who are new to this subject matter:

For employees who can telework and work well this way:

  • Can save thousands of dollars annually that would otherwise go towards gas and office clothes
  • Improves work-life balance by freeing up 1-2 hours (or more for those who commute even further) so that employees have the option to get right to work instead of wasting time in rush hour traffic as well as being able to get necessary errands done without a hassle (e.g., picking up kids from daycare/school)
  • Under a Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) where work can be done anywhere, anytime as long as the work is done on time, employees can lead a healthier lifestyle by not having to stay sedentary for 8-10 hour time blocks (includes commute time).

For employers:

  • Reduces real estate costs (for the physical space itself as well as additional costs of maintenance and utilities)
  • A more decentralized workforce allows business to continue during emergencies such as natural disasters, terrorist attacks, etc.
  • Employees who are well-suited to telework are more engaged and productive working from wherever they want, instead of at the office, which adds to the bottom line
  • When recruiting, employers can hire the best people for the job regardless of their geographic location
  • Having this option for employees enjoy more freedom and flexibility at work improves recruitment and retention, reducing the cost of turnover

For environmental conditions:

  • Less congestion for those who must travel to work as well as reduces wear and tear on deteriorating freeway infrastructure from having so many people utlizing it during rush hour
  • Although there’s some debate over whether or not teleworking employees make up for not having to commute to an office by driving elsewhere, a reduced need to build additional office building space and expand freeways does mean a decreased carbon footprint
  • The more we can curtail the growth of our freeways and buildings as our population grows, the more space we leave for wildlife Continue reading

Mass Career Customization: Aligning The Workplace With Today’s Nontraditional Workforce

Before delving into Mass Career Customization, I’d like to address a paper titled The Hidden Work In Virtual Work (click to download). It describes the high personal costs some remote workers have borne while trying to achieve work-life balance and maintain professional connections. I imagine that this paper can scare many away from the prospect of telework. However, note the limitations of this study. Like any good researcher, Heimrich Schwartz describes the methodology for collecting data. This study was based on information gathered from twenty-three informants who were recruited from the researchers’ social network. Therefore, like most qualitative studies, this study has a low sample size. Furthermore, participants were not randomly selected. Having drawn from their own personal network, participants are more likely to share similarities than if drawn from a pool that represents all remote workers. It is quite possible that their recruitment method did not capture the experiences of successful remote workers who thrive under this working condition. Continue reading