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Archives: January 2012

Dealing With The Workplace Know-It-All (And Managers Who Think You Are One)

Here’s a pair of columns from WaPo workplace advice columnist Karla Miller. The first features a letter from a woman who thinks her manager is out to get her (and other ambitious women), and the second comes from a manager whose young, ambitious female report is a nightmare.

The young letter-writer in the first instance says that her manager is “running off” other women based on “minutae” and “has now set her sights on me.”

Not a great situation to be in, but the interesting thing is, the LW didn’t mention having attempted to talk to her boss about the way she was feeling attacked.

In the second letter, a relatively new manager finds herself being second-guessed by a young, ambitious woman. “Her communication style is very up-front and borderline rude. I didn’t speak to supervisors that way when I was her age,” says the new supe.

What’s missing: the LW’s attempts at communicating with her report. In fact, she says she’s ” stopped responding to e-mails in which I feel I have to justify any decision to her.”

The advice in both cases is similar: talk. The young’in should say this to her boss: “I was surprised and disappointed at being taken off the Hudsucker project because my last review was so positive. What do you need to see from me to show you I’m ready for more challenging projects?”

And the manager should try (perhaps a more polite version of) the following: “I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but my decisions are based on years of experience. I welcome respectful dissent, but you should start from the assumption that I have a reason for doing things my way.”

But seriously. Start by talking before writing to a workplace advice columnist, that’s our advice.

‘Leadership Vacuum’ At NY Times As Company Prepares To Announce Earnings

nyt_logo.jpgThe New York Times Company is still seeking a replacement for CEO Janet Robinson who departed last month, and Wall Street isn’t too happy, reports Bloomberg.

A new leader is needed to bring up revenue, shore up profits and restore the Times Company’s dividend, Bloomberg writes. The company, which announces fourth-quarter results next week, is projected to report that its 2011 revenue was $2.33 billion, a decline from 2010 and the sixth straight year of declining sales.

“The stock is kind of stuck in no-man’s land,” and the absence of a CEO is part of what’s keeping it there,” one analyst told Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, Janet Robinson’s parting pay package is actually going to be around $21 million, more than previously reported.

To Find Career Happiness, We Should Explore Like We’re Doing It For Someone Else

Stuck in a job you dislike, a dead-end field or just trying to get a job?

We should spend much more time exploring options than we do, says Harvard Business Review blogger John Lees.

“Most career choices are relatively passive — something happens to be advertised or comes along,” Lees writes. Instead, even for busy people who are working full-time jobs, it’s important to do informational interviews, try some consulting or even work part-time in another industry on your days off.

The other important tactic when looking for a dream job is to act like you’re looking for somebody else. We love this idea. Lees writes: “If someone offered you $5,000 to go out there and find useful connections and identify potential areas for investigation, you wouldn’t go back after 48 hours and say, ‘I looked at a few things but you won’t like them.’ That, however, is exactly how many of us play the game when the client is ourselves.”

Instead of giving up on that dream, whatever it is, put some effort into finding what the obstacles actually are, and seeing if they’re things that can be chipped away at slowly.

Mondays Return | Layoffs At CP+B | More News You Need To Know

A Maryland newspaper that stopped printing on Mondays is returning to seven-day printing…CP+B’s CEO has confirmed that there were 43 people laid off at the agency…and more stuff, below… Plans To Hire 20 New Writers

If you love sports, listen up: the mostly-UGC site announced plans to hire 20 new sportswriters over the next six months to cover NFL, MLB, MMA, NBA, NHL and college basketball and soccer.

Since hiring its first five paid writers five months ago, traffic to has increased 50 percent, the company said in a press release. Its current five writers include Dan Levy, Matt Miller, Dan Rubenstein, Josh Zerkle, and Bethlehem Shoals. In addition, the site has more than 8,000 unpaid contributors.

Digiday’s take on the announcement is pretty interesting: senior editor Mike Shields says it probably isn’t about the traffic. “Bleacher Report is having little trouble attracting an audience, so it’s a good bet that part of the motivation for the move is to entice advertisers,” he says.

The ATS: Still A Jobseeker’s Enemy

Okay. We get it. Employers, you need Applicant Tracking Systems because you are overwhelmed by the resumes that are coming in. That’s partially because this economy is so bad that desperate jobseekers are submitting their resumes everywhere, without consideration for whether they are qualified for the job at hand.

ATSes serve a lot of fantastic functions, like eliminating those people.

But they can do a lot more harm than good.

According to this WSJ article about the rise of ATSes (about five years too late, guys?), even the tiniest misstep can throw you out of the running.

Example: “One small error, such as listing the name of a former employer after the years worked there, instead of before, can ruin a great candidate’s chances.”


Josh Bersin, CEO of Bersin & Associates, says that it’s a good idea to try to counteract this issue by putting your former employer, dates worked, and position all on separate lines–at least in the machine-readable version of your resume.

“There are some things parsers are just too stupid to figure out,” he told the WSJ.

Can we just say “argh,” please?

Elevator Pitch: Fashion Startup Shops for Investors

In the latest episode of “Elevator Pitch,” host Alan Meckler talks with entrepreneur Ella Gorgla about her startup, I-Ella, an online marketplace where users can buy, swap, sell, and borrow clothes, accessories, and shoes.

For more videos, check out our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

Media General, Hit By Severance Costs, Reports Loss

Newspaper publisher and broadcast station owner Media General today reported a Q4 2011 loss of $3.3 million on revenues of $168 million, as the company’s severance costs and impairment charges overwhelmed its operating income of $27 million dollars.

Without the special charges, the company would have reported $4.5 million in income, less than half the income from the fourth quarter of 2010. Those $168 million in revenues were $22 million lower than the revenue from a year prior.

Partially offsetting the decline in revenues was an 8.6 percent decrease in operating costs, the company said.

Digital revenues, a closely watched line item for media companies, made up just 5 percent of the company’s revenue.

Media General owns the Tampa Tribune, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, 19 other newspapers and 18 TV stations. In mid-December, the company laid off 165 at the Tampa Tribune, costing $3.5 million in severance costs.

Jobless Claims Ping-pong Back Up

After falling two weeks ago to the lowest level since April 2008, claims last week sprung back up to 377,000, the Labor Department announced today.

This is exactly what’s been happening over the past month or so: claims fall to ridiculously low levels (lowest in 3.5 years!) and then spring back up.

The overall trend, however, has been one of improvement since September 2011, with the four-week moving average, which smooths out volatility, steadily declining from 422,000 or so to 380,000.

“The job-market recovery remains on track,” Scott Brown, an economist who forecast claims would rise to 380,000, told Bloomberg. “The underlying trend is moderately low layoffs. We certainly have seen a lot volatility in the week to week numbers.”

Unlike last week, no state’s data was estimated, a labor official told Reuters.

No Smelling Allowed | On Its Way Out | More News You Need To Know

In case you land an interview at a startup, the rules are a little different than interviewing at an established media company…rule number one is apparently “don’t smell bad.” Everything else? Fair game…..this and other stories below…