Q: Should I give my boss a holiday gift? And what about the people who work for me?
A: Just over a quarter of workers buy for the boss, according to a survey conducted last winter by staffing company Spherion. But you probably shouldn’t follow their lead.
You risk looking like a suck-up to your boss and your co-workers, says Lizzie Post, co-author of The Etiquette Advantage in Business. And the gesture could make your manager feel awkward if he or she doesn’t get you a gift.
The right way to managing gifting upwards—if you are going to do it—is to pool with your colleagues to get one gift from everyone, says Post. Just don’t make it too expensive (no jewelry) or personal (no massage) or offensive (no reindeer sex t-shirt). “Stick with something work appropriate,” says Post.
She suggests a monogrammed business card holder or hand-crafted chocolates.
And what about gifting in the other direction if you’re a boss? Just 9% of supervisors surveyed by Spherion said they planned to give presents to subordinates.
But giving to your direct reports can be a nice thing to do, says Post. “It’s expression of gratitude or recognition for someone’s hard work,” she adds. “And there is nothing wrong with that.”
If you go ahead and buy for your underlings, keep it fair and give gifts of equal value across the board. You don’t want to be accused of favoritism when you’re playing office Santa.
High-profile email leaks show, once again, the danger of assuming that what you write is for the recipient's eyes only.
What were they thinking?
When Amy Pascal and Scott Rudin were exchanging their now infamous emails, leaked in the Sony Pictures Entertainment hacking scandal, they clearly weren’t worried about what would happen to their careers if anyone else read their notes.
You have to wonder why not: Companies routinely monitor worker communications. Email is regularly used as evidence in lawsuits and criminal investigations. Now hacking is another threat. Email isn’t private. Everyone knows that.
Pascal, who climbed the ranks at Sony Pictures Entertainment to become co-chairman, and Rudin, an Oscar-winning movie producer, are not stupid people. Yet they are just the latest example of high-profile executives who send email without a thought about what would happen if the outside world read them.
Remember David Petraeus, the four-star general and CIA director who resigned from his job after an FBI investigation inadvertently turned up emails that exposed an extramarital affair? Ironically, Petraeus didn’t even send the emails. He wrote them and saved them to his drafts folder. He and his girlfriend shared the password and simply logged in to read the drafts.
Then there’s New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who fired his chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly after it was revealed that she sent emails joking about traffic tie-ups caused by lane closings on the George Washington Bridge. The closures, an alleged retaliation against the mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing Christie’s bid for governor, spawned a scandal that continues to affect Christie’s presidential prospects.
And most recently, a Harvard business school professor publicly apologized last week for an epic email rant that went viral, in which he threatened to sic the authorities on a local Chinese food restaurant that allegedly overcharged him $4 for a dinner delivery.
Even though senders should know better, “there’s an illusion of privacy, because the truth is, most of us haven’t been hacked or even know if higher-ups are reading our email,” says Dana Brownlee, president of Professionalism Matters. When it comes to successful people, she says, ego often trumps common sense. “Those with power often reach a point where they let their guard down because they feel somewhat invincible.”
It’s a trap that any of us can easily fall into, particularly in today’s time-crunched workplace, where it’s often easier to shoot off an email or text rather than pick up the phone—or, better still, walk down the hall—to discuss a sensitive issue. “We all have to be really careful about using email almost exclusively to communicate,” Brownlee says. “It’s dangerous.”
Brownlee suggests giving yourself this simple test: How comfortable would you be if your boss, a co-worker or the person you are writing about read it? Not sure? Don’t send it.
“Warning flags truly should go off in your head any time you prepare to hit send on anything you wouldn’t want to read on the front page of the paper,” says Brownlee. “Save the jokes and snarky or personal stuff for one-on-one time. You’ll be glad you did.”
There should be good news for job seekers in 2015 as the US economy continues to rebound.+ READ ARTICLE
Coming from the corporate world might not be seen as a plus.
When I was researching my book, Unretirement, I was struck by how many boomers wanted to connect their passion to a paycheck by doing nonprofit work. People with long careers in the private sector often told me that they were eager to do things like help tackle homelessness or address recidivism or educate at-risk children.
The late historian Daniel Boorstin called nonprofits “monuments to community.” And it’s little wonder that growing numbers of boomers are acting on their desire to give back through this incredibly diverse sector, rich with opportunities. Nonprofits range from huge institutions with the trappings of big business to mom-and-pops with a cadre of dedicated employees and volunteers.
Making the leap from the for-profit world to the nonprofit one isn’t always easy, though.
How Not to Do It
When I gave a talk last August at Verrado, a multigenerational planned community in Arizona, a man in the audience had everyone in stitches relaying his tale of self-inflicted woe as he tried making the switch.
When he retired from a corporate career in IT management, he said, he hoped to take his skills to a nonprofit and make a difference. But after getting a job at one and loudly telling his new colleagues they were doing IT all wrong, he was soon thanked for his insights and shown the door. The same thing happened at another nonprofit. These days, he told me, he’s driving a car to make some money while rethinking his approach toward working at a nonprofit — still his goal.
When I relayed his story to Kate Barr, executive director of the Nonprofits Assistance Fund — a Minneapolis-based group that offers capital and expertise to Minnesota nonprofits — she didn’t find it surprising. “It’s a myth that nonprofits don’t know what they’re doing,” says Barr. “Most of them do.”
Start On a Board
Barr, who made the transition from the corporate world with aplomb, has some smart advice for midlifers who’d like to do it. She started her career as a dancer at small dance companies, pirouetted into banking and after 22 years of that (eventually becoming a senior vice president), landed her Nonprofits Assistance Fund job in 2000.
When professionals ask Barr how to make a similar shift, her first question to them is: “Do you serve on any nonprofit boards?” If not, she says, get on some before jumping careers. Board membership, Barr says, offers an opportunity to understand the dynamics of nonprofits.
If you think joining a board is just for the uber-rich who can write big checks, Barr says you’re mistaken. While some nonprofit boards recruit solely from the wealthy and the well-connected (think big-city orchestras and major nonprofit hospitals), many of the nation’s roughly 1.44 million nonprofits don’t (think local food banks and small arts groups).
As a board member, you’ll be expected to make an annual contribution to the cause. But often, the sums are relatively small. “There are lots of boards to choose from,” Barr says.
Volunteer to Be a Volunteer
Another way in, says Charles McLimans, “volunteer your services” at a nonprofit. “Ask, ‘what do you need me to do?,’” he advises. Like Barr, McLimans, 49, speaks from experience.
He began his career in the corporate sector, including work at REFCO, the commodities trading firm. In 2006, when he moved to Naperville, Ill., to be closer to his family, his sister suggested he volunteer at Loaves and Fishes, a food pantry. In 2008, he became its executive director and only full-time employee.
He’ll soon move to Milwaukee, Wisc. to be President and Chief Executive of Feeding America, Eastern Wisconsin, a 45-person employee hunger-relief organization. “It’s a great opportunity,” says McLimans.
Crosby Kemper III, Executive Director of the Kansas City Public Library, has a few other questions to think deeply about before making the leap to nonprofits. “I’d say the first thing you have to do is ask yourself, ‘What do you want to do with your life? What gifts do you have to give to the world? What do you want to do with the last part of your life?’”
Kemper asked himself those questions before taking the library position in 2005.
Like Barr, Kemper had been a long-time banker (although he took some major career breaks, including a year teaching English in China). He became Chairman and Chief Executive of UMB Financial in 2000, based in Kansas City, Mo., and retired five years later. When the possibility of the library job came up, he talked it over with close friends and met with patrons of the library. Although he enjoyed his business career, Kemper says, “ultimately it didn’t fulfill everything I wanted to do. The life of the mind and the civic role are important, too.”
How to Do a Nonprofit Job Search
No matter what mission or cause attracts you, some of the keys to finding rewarding work at a nonprofit are the same as with any thoughtful job search: Figuring out what do you really want to do, understanding your skillset, knowing what you have to offer and tapping into your network for job leads.
What’s different about the job search at a nonprofit is the opportunity to experiment — to test-drive the combination of your talents and an organization’s needs through volunteering. By learning about a group from the bottom rung of its career ladder, you can understand the intricacies of the nonprofit without romanticizing working there.
After all, even with the most noble vision, every nonprofit is like any other business, with plenty of shortcomings and frustrations. But through volunteering, you’ll live with them and can then decide whether to try to convert your free labor into a part-time or full-time paid position that’ll add meaning to your life.
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Glassdoor serves as something of a Yelp-for-employers, allowing employees to rate their companies anonymously and the online service has released its annual list of the top 10 places to work.+ READ ARTICLE
A recent survey confirms that most HR execs are looking at LinkedIn and Facebook. You should be, too, says career coach Caroline Ceniza-Levine.
The job market is improving.
Online recruiting platform Jobvite recently surveyed more than 1,800 HR professionals across industries, and found that a whopping 69% of recruiters expect hiring to become more competitive in the next 12 months.
So if you have put off your job search, now is the time to jump in. Employers anticipating competition will be more attentive to candidates and more aggressive with offers. As a job seeker, you will have more leverage.
The catch is that you have to find the job postings first—and that, the survey found, will require you to be on social media.
Here are three key insights from Jobvite’s survey and the implications for job seekers:
The Insight: 73% of employers plan to increase their spending on social media recruiting and referrals ranked a close second in where employers would put their recruiting dollars.
What It Means For You: If employers are spending on social and referrals, then job seekers need to be networking both online and offline. Look at the time and attention you place on finding jobs. How much of it is spent updating your social profile, staying active with your status and comments, and networking offline in live meetings and informational interviews?
These should comprise the vast majority of your job-search time.
Employers did not cite job postings in the top five of where they will increase their budget so job seekers should not prioritize this avenue.
The Insight: 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn, followed by Facebook at 66%. But 79% have hired candidates found on LinkedIn v. 26% for Facebook.
What It Means For You: If you are overwhelmed at the thought of staying active on social, take comfort in this statistic that shows you can put the lion’s share of your attention on LinkedIn and capture the lion’s share of employers’ efforts.
Make sure your profile is complete: photo, headline, summary, skills, detailed job history, and any additional items to showcase your expertise (e.g., video, publications). Join Groups so you can stay abreast of trends and more easily network.
Update your status so you can stay connected with your entire network on a regular basis.
Finally, make sure your LinkedIn profile is connected to an email you check regularly. As a recruiter, I use LinkedIn frequently and hear back from too many candidates several weeks after my initial message with an apologetic, “I never check my LinkedIn….”
Job seekers, you can set your LinkedIn updates to forward to your email of choice so there is no excuse not to read your updates and messages!
The Insight: 93% of recruiters will review a candidate’s social profile before making a decision and 55% of recruiters have reconsidered a candidate based on what they saw on social media.
What It Means For You: You absolutely need to stay on top of your digital footprint.
Google yourself to see what employers see. Set a Google Alert on your name so you check what is on the internet about you on a regular basis.
Additionally, staying active on social media—posting related to your industry or knowledge area on Twitter and keeping your profile active on LinkedIn—will help you populate the internet with positive information about you and help improve your brand.
Caroline Ceniza-Levine is co-founder of SixFigureStart® career coaching. She has worked with professionals from American Express, Condé Nast, Gilt, Goldman Sachs, Google, McKinsey, and other leading firms. She’s also a stand-up comic. This column appears weekly.
Read more from Caroline Ceniza-Levine:
These are the places where the most employers say they'll be adding jobs next year. Some of them might surprise you.
Big picture, the job market is doing pretty well. But drill down to the cities that are projecting the most—and the least—hiring when 2015 kicks off, and you find some surprising places.
In its quarterly Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, out today, the employment services company asked 18,000 employers in 100 metropolitan statistical areas how they expect hiring will change in the first quarter of 2015 compared with the fourth quarter of this year.
One-fifth of employers anticipate hiring staff in the first quarter, while just 6% are planning workforce cuts.
The strongest job prospects are expected in Cape Coral, Fla., with 32% of employers projecting more hiring. Better known as a Gulf Coast beach destination, Cape Coral was recently recognized as a top city for startup businesses. Growth in tourism and hospitality is also boosting the job market there.
Mexican border town McAllen, Texas, came in at number two, with 29% of employers projecting an increase in jobs. Thanks to the tariff-free trade agreements between the U.S. and Mexico, American companies including General Electric and Nokia have major facilities there, fueling job growth.
Deltona, Fla., another beach destination, came in third, with 26% of employers expecting to hire. Grand Rapids, Mich., headquarters for several major office-furniture manufacturers including Herman Miller, as well as a hub for aviation and auto manufacturers, also expects a 26% bump up in hiring.
At No. 5, Oxnard, Calif., is another city driven by international trade. Home to a major commercial port between Los Angeles and San Francisco, employers there expect a 24% jump in hiring in the first quarter.
Though the hiring outlook wasn’t negative in any of the 100 metropolitan areas Manpower surveyed, there were weak spots. Despite low unemployment rates, fewer than 10% of employers in these metropolitan areas expect to be adding jobs: Boston; Bridgeport, Conn,; Minneapolis; New York; Portland, Ore.; and Spokane, Wash.
You can improve your chances of finding a new job by taking your search on the road, but you’ve got to be strategic in selling yourself.
Three out of four hiring managers recently surveyed by Challenger Gray & Christmas reported a shortage of local talent. So theoretically you could have better luck finding the job of your dreams if you’re willing and able to move.
Problem is, many companies are hesitant to hire out-of-towners because of concerns over relocation, money, and local knowledge. But you can put hiring managers at ease by preemptively addressing these three issues in your application:
How Willing You Are to Move
Transparency is crucial. “If a recruiter in Pittsburgh sees you’ve been working in L.A. for 10 years, they’ll want to know why you’re applying,” says Marcelle Yeager, president of Career Valet, a professional coaching firm.
Don’t skirt these issues or, worse, lie by using a local pal’s address. Instead, write beside your address that you would be eager to relocate to the area for the right career opportunity, recommends Jaime Klein, founder of Inspire Human Resources, a New York HR consulting firm.
What It Will Cost the Company
Hiring costs are top of mind for recruiters when evaluating long-distance applications. So pay your own way for an in-person interview if you can swing it, says Stefanie Wichansky, CEO at Randolph, N.J., management consulting and staffing firm Professional Resource Partners. A subtle approach: Indicate that you are frequently in the area and can make yourself available at the hiring manager’s convenience.
Definitely don’t bring up needing relocation assistance in your cover letter. “That makes your candidacy less attractive, as you’ll be a more expensive hire compared to the local competition,” says Wichansky. Wait to raise the issue until the company has determined that you’re the best candidate. “You’re in a better position to negotiate once you’ve proven the value you can bring to the organization,” she says.
How Well You Know the Area
Unless you have a skill set that’s unique or in high demand, you’re going to need to convince a hiring manager that you’re not hampered—and wouldn’t hamper the company—by your lack of knowledge of the local market, says Yeager.
One way to tap into the market from afar, besides following local news and blogs, is to join region-specific industry networking groups on LinkedIn. Start discussions to gain an insider’s perspective, then demonstrate this knowledge in your cover letter. An out-of-towner looking for work in commercial real estate, for example, might study neighborhoods and establish relationships with local developers to show he can hit the ground running.
If Santa was paid for the work he does, he'd make around $140,000 annually—a bit more than what moms would theoretically bring home, and twice what dad caregivers should earn.
According to the 2014 Santa Index, a “study” created by the all-purpose insurance information site Insure.com, Santa Claus would earn $139,924 annually if he were paid fair wages for all of the jobs he handles.
Researchers at the site come up with the estimate by adding up the various tasks that constitute Santa’s job description. It goes without saying that Santa has quite a unique skill set, including roles as a reindeer handler, professional shopper, cookie taster, and private investigator (knows if you’ve been bad or good). The bulk of Santa’s estimated salary comes as a result of overseeing the toy workshop, a job that falls under the domain of industrial engineering and would earn the big guy $116,742 per year. Meanwhile, Santa’s piloting skills, which he uses just once a year when delivering toys on his sleigh, would earn the highest hourly wages ($62.31, so $623 for putting in a ten-hour shift on Christmas Eve).
When all of the 15 different components of Santa’s job are tallied up—based on mean hourly wages and the rough hours per year worked—the total comes to just under $140,000. That’s roughly $20,000 more than what the average stay-at-home mom is worth and double what the average SAH dad is worth, according to lighthearted studies conducted by the career-research site Salary.com.
The job (and estimated hypothetical salary) of stay-at-home parents is a combination of roles that are very different than Santa’s, including van driver, laundry operator, cook, psychologist, and (household) CEO. While Santa’s varied roles would mean he’d log in roughly 83 hours per week on the job—with much longer hours toward the end of the year, presumably—stay-at-home moms report enduring even longer work weeks, averaging 96.5 hours weekly.
Santa Claus’s bearded “helpers”—the imitation for-hire Santas who work the malls and holiday parties at this time of year—don’t earn anywhere near Insure.com’s estimated value of the true Santa Claus. While some lucrative Santa gigs pay upwards of $75 or even $300 per hour, wages of $15 to $20 per hour are more likely, and a hardworking Santa with regular assignments can expect to pull in somewhere between $5,000 and $15,000 during the winter holidays.
Meanwhile, many survey participants think that $140,000 doesn’t come close to what Santa deserves in an annual salary. In an Insure.com poll, 9% of consumers said Santa should earn more than $200,000 annually, and 29% said that he should pull in a whopping $1.8 billion per year—a flat $1 for each child under age 15 on the planet.
We can’t find a parallel survey indicating how much children think their moms should be paid for all they do. If the question were ever asked, it would be wise to answer that moms (and dads too, of course!) deserve to make at least as much if not more than Santa Claus. Santa would surely agree that there’s nothing more valuable than a good parent—and remember, he’s watching.