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Archives: February 2013

Want to Boost Productivity? Step Away From the Computer & Relax

This piece on The New York Times about relaxing made is do a double take. After all, it seems counterintuitive, right? Do less and achieve more?

Well, the piece indicates the best way to get more done is to do less. Whether it’s a workout in the middle of the day, taking a quick snooze, sleeping longer during the night or spending more time offline and away from the office, it’s all good.

Tony Schwartz, the author of Be Excellent at Anything, explains in the piece:

“Time is the resource on which we’ve relied to get more accomplished. When there’s more to do, we invest more hours. But time is finite, and many of us feel we’re running out, that we’re investing as many hours as we can while trying to retain some semblance of a life outside work.” Read more

How to Give Employees Feedback Without Damaging Morale

What are some good ways managers can practice the art of constructive criticism? In the latest Mediabistro feature, eBay’s former COO and other career experts weigh in with their tips. Here’s an excerpt:

Be prepared

Probably the easiest and most popular response to a manager’s complaint is “I didn’t know this was an issue.” Get ahead of that response by communicating your expectations early and by having regular, honest meetings with staffers.  Maynard Webb, eBay’s long-time COO and author of Rebooting Work: Transform How You Work in the Age of Entrepreneurship, says regular check-ins make critiques less surprising and easier to accept. “I’ve often implemented informal weekly and formal quarterly check-ins in an effort to force a dialogue and prevent a big disconnect when employees find out they weren’t doing as well as their perception led them to believe,” Webb said.

For more, read How to Give Employees Feedback Without Killing Morale. [Mediabistro AvantGuild subscription required]

How to Handle an Awkward Situation: Seeing Two Colleagues in Compromising Position

Here’s a conundrum for you: You’re strolling your office and open a vacant office innocently searching for office supplies but alas, you find two workers in a very compromising position.

What to do?

According to Gregory Giangrande, chief HR officer at Time, Inc., in today’s New York Post, letting it go and looking the other way is fine if it seems innocent enough. Read more

Employer Fines Workers $10 Each Minute For Being Tardy to Meetings

Have you ever been late to a meeting and kind of slithered into a chair in the back of the room so no one would notice?

Well, if you’re an employee at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, your tardiness isn’t unnoticed and in fact, you better be prepared to pay up.

That is, if you’re late by one minute to a meeting with entrepreneurs, you have to dole out $10. So if you’re doing the math, if you’re late by five minutes it will cost you $50. Read more

The New York Public Library Names Kenneth Weine as Vice President of Communications & Marketing

The New York Public Library has named Kenneth Weine as its vice president of communications and marketing.

Prior to joining the NYPL, Weine was vice president for Consumer Reports where he had been working since 2006. Before Consumer Reports, he was a communications director at Newsweek; prior to that job, he was a staff attorney and communications director at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School. Read more

Labor Department Reports Jobless Claims Drop to Five Year Low

Want some good news as we approach the end of the week?

Okay, we admit, this probably won’t impact you directly in terms of a bonus or promotion but hey, it’s good news nonetheless. The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits dropped last week.

Overall, this means the labor market is looking up and as such, so is the economy.

Read more

New Job Titles Like Ninja & Evangelist Become the Norm

If you’ve read a job description lately and spotted words like “ninja” and “evangelist,” you’re not alone. In fact, some job titles are becoming creative and downright quirky.

Just look at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the 181 year-old publishing company. According to a piece in The Boston Globe, its receptionist does what a greeter is supposed to do — Hillary Creedon is friendly. She says hello to visitors, answers phones, and hangs up coats. As for the 22 year-old’s name? Director of first impressions.

She told the newspaper, “There is a stereotype that comes from being a receptionist. Clearly there’s a difference.”

Is there really a difference though? Read more

Three Ways to Reignite the Spark Back Into Your Job

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, this piece may be right up your alley. That is, how can you put the spark back into your job presuming it may be a bit monotonous right now? Considering you may pour your heart and soul into your job upwards of 50, 60 or even 70 (or more!) hours per week, you might as well enjoy it, right?

Well, what if the office, commute, co-workers, deadlines, all of the above, seem to be getting stale? First, you need to recognize it’s time to rekindle your passion and create it if it’s gone. According to a piece on U.S. News & World Report, there are a few ways to accomplish this. Read more

Study Reveals People Who Bike or Walk to Work Enjoy Their Commutes More Than Drivers

Ah, the daily commute. Whether you bike to work or hoof it on foot, according to a new study, you certainly enjoy your daily commute to and from the office more than folks who drive or take public transportation.

Research from Portland State University revealed that participants in a Portland, Oregon-based survey indicated commuting under your own power “increases commute well-being.”

What is that, you ask? Um, happiness for starters. Biking made people the happiest and walking was close behind. As for the lowest level of well-being? People who drove automobiles alone.

In addition, the study indicated that people who earn over $75,000 annually and are happy with their job and housing situation were more likely to say they were happy with their commuting situation. Factors that impacted overall commuting well-being were related to traffic, crowded transit vehicles, safety concerns (this was high for bikers), and lengthy travel times exceeding 40 minutes.

Trouble at Budget Travel

A spokesperson for the company says that the magazine is “not in bankruptcy at this time,” however, some sad news is coming out of that magazine with or without the official designation of bankruptcy.

An editor told a freelance tipster of ours that Budget Travel, which has been struggling financially for many years, “is going through a reorganization.” Until then, the magazine is unable to process past payments — including to freelancers like our tipster who is owed a few hundred dollars for a story nearly a year ago.

The editor went on to say that BT’s staff has been reduced to a “handful” and that the magazine may not go back to printing a paper copy until it has exited the reorganization.

Budget Travel was purchased by hedge fund manager Alphonse “Buddy” Fletcher Jr. in 2010 from Newsweek, which was at the time owned by the Washington Post Co. The New York Post estimated last fall that the magazine’s liabilities exceeded $1 million, and reported that the magazine’s paper supplier is owed money along with the company that handles its subscriptions.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that BT’s liabilities exceeded $1 billion. The error has been corrected.