TIME Workplace & Careers

Elon Musk Denies Scolding New Parent Employee Over Missed Meeting

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, unveils batteries for homes, businesses, and utilities at Tesla Design Studio April 30, 2015 in Hawthorne, California.
Kevork Djansezian—Getty Images Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, unveils batteries for homes, businesses, and utilities at Tesla Design Studio April 30, 2015 in Hawthorne, California.

"It is total BS & hurtful to claim that I told a guy to miss his child's birth just to attend a company meeting"

Tesla and SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk rejected a claim Tuesday that he once upbraided an employee for taking time off work to witness a child’s birth on Twitter, calling the allegations “total BS and hurtful.”

Musk was responding to an anecdote featured in upcoming biography, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, written by business reporter Ashlee Vance.

In the book, an employee claims that Musk sent a sternly worded note in which Musk reportedly wrote that the child’s birth was “no excuse,” adding, “you need to figure out where your priorities are.” Musk denied ever having written the note and cast doubts on the veracity of the book:

As more sensational quotes from advanced copies of the book leaked online, Musk continued to tweet back rebuttals.

Read next: How to Achieve Extreme Success Like Richard Branson and Elon Musk

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Workplace & Careers

Millennials Now Largest Generation in the U.S. Workforce

They surpassed Generation X earlier this year

Millennials have now surpassed Generation X to become the largest generation in the American workforce, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

Adults between the ages of 18-34 now make up one in three American workers, Pew reports. They outnumbered working adults in Generation X, who were 18-33 in the year 1998, in early 2015 after overtaking Baby Boomers last year.

The estimated 53.5 million millennials in the work force are only expected to grow as millennials currently enrolled in college graduate and begin working. The generation is also growing thanks to recent immigration, as more than half of new immigrant workers have been millennials.

The millennial generation as a whole, not just those in the labor force, is also expected to surpass the Baby Boom generation as the largest living generation in the U.S.

 

TIME Workplace & Careers

New York Governor Acts to Protect Exploited Nail Salon Workers

A customer receives a manicure at Castle nail salon in New York City on Jan. 8, 2015.
Bebeto Matthew—AP A customer receives a manicure at Castle nail salon in New York City on Jan. 8, 2015.

Andrew Cuomo's emergency measures include a multiagency taskforce conducting immediate salon-by-salon investigations

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled emergency measures on Sunday to protect thousands of workers in his state’s nail salon industry from wage theft and health hazards.

A new multiagency task force will immediately conduct salon-by-salon investigations, protect manicurists from chemicals in nail products, and educate workers on their rights, Cuomo said in a statement.

The measures come days after the New York Times published online an indepth investigation into the exploitation of nail manicurists, many of whom are severely underpaid and regularly exposed to potentially dangerous chemicals.

“We will not stand idly by as workers are deprived of their hard-earned wages and robbed of their most basic rights,” Cuomo said in a statement, according to the New York Times.

Nail salons that do not comply with orders to pay workers back wages will be shut down, according to the new rules.

[NYT]

MONEY Kids and Money

4 Important Lessons to Teach on Take Your Kids to Work Day

Girl on phone in medical lab office
Stanislas Merlin—Getty Images

On the fourth Thursday of April, working parents all across America take their children to work with them so they can see what Mom or Dad do for a living.

April 23, 2015 marks the 22nd year of ‘Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work’ Day.

Some companies have organized activities for their young visitors; others have little or no planning. Regardless of how things work at your office, you can use your workplace to teach kids about the value of money.

Of course, your lessons must be age-appropriate. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to teach your toddler about the stock market, and older children will be bored with simplistic discussions. With that in mind, here are a few ideas that can spur your thinking on appropriate lessons for your kids.

Salary – You can give younger children an analogy of worth and value by equating your work time to money and purchases. Give them a frame of reference by how much of your work time it takes to buy an ice cream cone or a bike.

Beware of two unintended consequences — make sure your children do not think that just because you work a certain amount of time they will get an ice cream cone or a bike, and make sure they understand that your salary is private. You do not want them relaying their newfound information to everybody they meet in the hallway or the elevator.

Profit – If you work in a manufacturing environment, you can show your children the products you make and talk about profit in general — how it takes money to make the products and how your company has to charge more to be able to pay employees and stay in business. Make the discussion age-appropriate and do not use actual company numbers unless you’ve cleared it with your manager (and even then, it’s not a good idea to be specific).

You can extend the profit discussion to retail jobs as well. It may be harder to illustrate in an office environment, but it’s not impossible to do so.

Sales – If you’re in a retail environment, you may be able to show your children how transactions take place. When ringing up a customer’s cash purchase, you can go over basic math skills with younger children by letting them “help” you make change and hand it out to the customer. You can engage your older children with discussions about credit cards and debit cards — how they work, what the difference is between the two, and pros and cons of each.

Taxes – If you can keep out your own biases (and we all have them), you can teach your kids about taxes. For example, in the retail environment, you can explain why the customer pays more than the price on the price tag because of taxes, where the tax money goes, and how it’s spent.

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day isn’t for everybody. If your workplace is hostile to the idea, you don’t think you can pay sufficient attention to your child and still do your job, or you can’t keep them from disrupting the office, then don’t participate. A bad experience at the office is worse than no experience at the office.

However, you should spend extra time with your children later on and talk to them about what you do at work. You can use that time for teachable moments about money. They may not pay close attention or seem to appreciate the effort now, but as they grow up, you’re more likely to see the fruits of your efforts. Take the extra time to teach your kids about money, and they’ll reward you by staying out of trouble (and out of debt) with their good money-management habits.

TIME Workplace & Careers

Seattle Business Owner Will Pay $70,000 Minimum Wage to All Employees

CEO will take nearly $930,000 pay cut to help fund the raises

A Seattle-based company will pay a $70,000 minimum wage to all employees, regardless of their job title, after the CEO read a study that found pay hikes up to that threshold led to significant improvements in emotional well-being.

Dan Price, founder and CEO of Gravity Payments, a credit card payment processing firm, stunned his employees with the generous minimum wage plan, which will ratchet up salaries over the next three years, the New York Times reports.

Thirty of Gravity Payment’s 120 employees will see their salaries double over the next three years, while Price himself will take a pay cut from $1 million down to $70,000 a year, or minimum wage by his standards.

Read more at the New York Times.

TIME Workplace & Careers

Jury Clears Silicon Valley Firm in Sex Bias Suit

APTOPIX Silicon Valley Sexual Discrimination
Jeff Chiu—AP Ellen Pao, center, walks to Civic Center Courthouse in San Francisco, March 27, 2015.

A jury rejected claims made by Ellen Pao about Kleiner Perkins

A jury cleared venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins of gender discrimination in lawsuit by former employee Ellen Pao following a trial that has put a harsh light on the skewed demographics in Silicon Valley.

After three days of deliberations, the jury rejected allegations that Kleiner Perkins passed Pao over for a promotion and then fired her because of her gender. It also cleared the firm of Pao’s claims it had retaliated against her.

The verdict was a major victory for Kleiner Perkins, an early investor in companies like Google and Genentech. The trial had shed an unflattering light on internal bickering within the firm and big egos along with the negative image that comes with a high-profile sexism lawsuit.

“Today’s verdict reaffirms that Ellen Pao’s claims have no legal merit,” Kleiner Perkins said in a statement. “We are grateful to the jury for its careful examination of the facts.

“There is no question gender diversity in the workplace is an important issue. KPCB remains committed to supporting women in venture capital and technology both inside our firm and within our industry.”

For Ellen Pao, the jury’s decision marks a major blow. Speaking to reporters just after the verdict, she emphasized that despite the loss, she hoped her case may help other women and make companies think twice about how women are treated.

“I have told my story and thousands of people have heard it,” Pao said. “My story is their story. If I’ve helped to level the playing field for women and minorities in venture capital, then the battle was worth it.”

During more than four weeks of testimony in San Francisco Superior Court, attorneys for Pao and her former employer, blue-chip investment firm Kleiner Perkins, presented witnesses, emails and documents that portrayed widely different narratives of Pao’s career at the firm.

The trial, which has been closely followed in Silicon Valley and by the media, offered a rare and intimate window into the gender dynamics of one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent investment firms. The case has been particularly significant for the tech industry, which has long struggled with diversity.

Pao, who filed the gender discrimination lawsuit following a seven-year career at the firm, claimed that she had been overlooked for promotions in favor of men with less experience. She also described how she was excluded from all-male dinner parties, subjected to a bawdy discussions of porn and given an inappropriate gift of erotic poetry by a senior male colleague for Valentines Day.

In turn, Kleiner aggressively defended itself in court by painting Pao as a difficult employee who lacked the qualifications necessary to be a venture capitalist. Witness after witness from the firm contradicted Pao’s accounts of misbehavior or said she twisted the facts to make insignificant events seem like serious problems.

Much of the trial’s testimony focused on Pao’s performance and whether she should have been promoted. In making her case, Pao claimed responsibility for a number of successful investments and pointed to her good relationship with companies in which Kleiner had invested. Kleiner, on the other hand, said failed to build expertise — or “thought leadership” — and constantly bickered with colleagues.

Kleiner eventually fired Pao in 2012, shortly after she had filed her lawsuit. She is now interim CEO of online forum Reddit.

After the verdict, Steve Sammut, a juror in the trial, explained to the media that he and his peers had focused their deliberations, in part, on how Pao’s performance reviews. He said they supported the firm’s defense by showing that Pao got dinged for the same weaknesses year-after-year, suggesting she never improved on them. Meanwhile, performance of male colleagues seemed to show improvements. Their critiques varied year-to-year.

“For Pao’s reviews, we went back and looked for areas to improve and they tended to stay the same, for other individuals they tended to drop off,” Sammut said.

The trial also brought into question Kleiner’s workplace policies, or lack thereof. Pao’s side argued that the venture capital firm didn’t have a real harassment policy in place until 2012, and that the partners often got away with inappropriate behavior without being punished.

The verdicts did not go smoothly. Early in the afternoon, the jury came back with what it thought was a final decision. But the judge belatedly realized that the jury had miscounted its votes for one of four counts. The judge ordered the jury to return to deliberations over a remaining retaliation claim. They emerged about an hour and a half later with a decision on the final count.

This article originally appeared in Fortune.com.

 

TIME Workplace & Careers

8 Things Millennials Should Do Before Their First Job Interview

Reminder for Job Interview
Getty Images

Truthful advice on how recent graduates can navigate today’s job market

Maybe it’s because we’re taught to find an older mentor. Or maybe it’s because people who are gray around the temples simply look wiser. Whatever the reason, when you’re fresh out of college, it’s tempting to seek career advice from the most accomplished people in the field you’re hoping to break into.

But in reality, those execs chalked up most of their accomplishments in an entirely different economic, technological and professional landscape. So Fortune talked to more recent college graduates—millennials who entered the workforce in the years after the economic crash and the invention of Twitter—about what they wish they’d known about getting a toehold in their career when they were 22.

Before you accept an internship, especially an unpaid internship, ask the employer this one question.

“Have you ever hired an intern?”

Internships have become a necessary inconvenience on the path to full-time, paid employment—even though they can sometimes seem more like a cruel prank to get recent graduates to fetch coffee and make copies for free.

Occasionally an unpaid internship turns into a solid job, but often it doesn’t. Before you gratefully accept someone’s offer to work for them for free, ask about the company’s track record of hiring from their intern pool, and weigh their answer before you accept. If they’ve only ever hired one intern, but have 60 working for them at any given time, it might be best to walk away.

“Sometimes it is worth it to wait and really vet these organizations. Expect better,” says Justine Dowden, who graduated in 2010 and has had six different internships or jobs since; she’s now pursuing a master’s in public health. “Try to work for a place that wants you to really grow from the experience of working for them, not just use you as expendable cheap labor. That will connect you to people. You really can’t wait around forever, but you can wait around for an internship that’s not just tweeting.”

Sometimes bigger—and more established—is better.

A creative startup with only five employees or a scrappy nonprofit looks cool from the outside—and it’s easy to think that you’ll be able to add a wide range of skills to your resume if everyone on staff is doing a little bit of everything. But it can also be maddening once you’ve been hired. Small upstarts often “don’t have the same HR structures as corporate places or law firms. All of the lines are blurred so it’s harder to know your position,” says Meg, a first-year associate at a law firm in Chicago, who watched many of her undergrad classmates unexpectedly struggle with the loose nature of their jobs at creative upstart companies. “Because the hierarchy wasn’t as clear, it was also harder for them to get mentors,” she adds. Beware of companies that lack a human resources department or won’t give you a concrete job description.

You don’t have to move to New York.

It might seem like all of your friends are moving to Bushwick, but take a wider view. There are good jobs everywhere. “Just try to look beyond NYC or Boston or SF,” says Dowden, who counts an internship in Amsterdam and a public-health job in Sacramento among her most valuable professional experiences.

Don’t wait for permission to put your ideas out into the world.

It’s never been easier to show employers that you have ideas worth listening to. Can’t get an informational interview with a company you’d love to work for? Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to publish your thoughts online about what the organization could be doing better.

“When I was a junior in college, I had some ideas I thought Google should work on, and I wrote this blog post,” says Ted Power, who graduated in 2007. “I mocked up this concept and put it out there, and got very lucky because someone at Google happened to see it, and said oh, you should apply for an internship here.” His internship turned into a full-time job at Google, which he later quit to instead work at a series of startups. Companies pay attention to what people say about them online, and if your tone is professional and your ideas are sound, you just might get lucky like Power did.

Meet as many people as you can. And keep in touch.

It might make you feel like a nag or a phony, but “all the bullshit you hear about networking is so true,” Meg says. When she first interviewed at her law firm, it went well. They told her they really liked her, but they wouldn’t be hiring any new associates that year—an all-too-common interview response in tough economic times. She kept in touch, calling them after she took the bar exam and again after she got the news that she’d passed. After her third or fourth call that ended with a polite decline, she got a call back from one of the partners, offering her a job. Meg’s pretty sure that never would have happened if she hadn’t gotten in touch with them after their initial “sorry, but we’re not hiring now.”

Also, don’t be afraid to work any personal connection you have—even if those connections aren’t people who are directly hiring right now. That fellow intern you befriended last summer? She might not be a hiring manager just yet, but she probably will know before outsiders do when her company is hiring. Don’t unfriend her on Facebook just because you’re annoyed she found a job right away and you didn’t. Stay in touch.

Put your Google-stalking skills to work.

Your talents are wasted on your ex. Instead, read up on the places you want to hire you and the people who work there. This is what LinkedIn is made for, but you can do better than that. Googling and combing social media can yield a surprising amount of information—so much that it’s almost like having a contact within the company. A lot of hiring managers are pretty public these days about what they look for in a new employee. Pay attention to what they’re saying.

It’s ok if you don’t know what your dream job is.

In fact, it might be better that way. The point of your first few jobs is just to try out different roles, responsibilities and different types of work environments.

“There’s a lot of pressure to find your dream job, or something that you absolutely love,” Power says. “That can almost be counterproductive because you have such high expectations. What’s more important is trying a bunch of stuff and figuring out what you like doing day to day. There are a lot of jobs that sound amazing, but the day to day is working in Excel or something.”

And if you do have a dream job, don’t write off an entry-level position just because it’s imperfect. After an internship at the White House, Meg landed a job at the Department of Justice, “which wasn’t my first choice,” she says. But in retrospect, it looks a lot better than the other political jobs she wished she’d gotten at the time. “I made $20,000 more at DOJ than you’d make at the White House,” she says. She also met a fantastic mentor at the Department of Justice, who convinced her to go to law school and ended up changing the course of her career.

Remember to have fun.

This is going to sound almost ridiculous, given that your first few jobs are likely to be less than ideal. But if you’re working super-long hours and finding yourself too busy to even see your friends, take a step back. You have plenty of time to work yourself to the bone later. “Young professional life is trying to figure out balance between trying to get ahead and enjoying your life,” Meg says.

Sure, you have loans to pay off. You want your next job to be a fantastic one. But you shouldn’t be more stressed than your boss who makes ten times as much. Your twenties are “the time you’re supposed to be going on disaster internet dates and going out and finding excellent hangover breakfast restaurants before work the next day,” Meg says. Make the most of them.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Companies

This 1-Year-Old Startup Says It’s the Fastest-Growing Business App Ever

Slack Business App
Courtesy of Slack

Slack is one of many new workplace apps taking offices by storm

Office messaging service Slack, which is celebrating its first birthday Thursday, says it’s now the fastest-growing business app ever.

Slack has more than half a million daily active users sending 300 million messages a month on the platform, according a company press release. The app’s daily active user count has grown 35% since the start of the year, while it’s pulling in $12 million in annual reoccurring revenue.

Slack, valued at over $1 billion after a $120 million funding round last October, hopes to kill frustrating back-and-forth work e-mails with an easy-to-use chat interface. It also gives businesses a platform to upload and comment on posts and files, as well as integration with a wide range of productivity apps like Google Drive and Trello.

“Messaging has emerged as one of the most fundamental applications of the Internet, and its value is shifting into our work lives,” said Stewart Butterfield, CEO and co-founder of Slack, in a release. “Slack radically increases internal transparency and turns communication archives into a powerful shared resource.”

Slack justifies calling itself the fastest-growing business app based on analysis from Tomasz Tunguz, a partner at Redpoint Ventures who closely watches the corporate software space. The company’s stellar growth rate is especially notable because it’s happening almost entirely thanks to word of mouth and media coverage, not an aggressive advertising campaign.

Slack’s early success comes as more tech heavyweights are looking to expand their presence in the workplace. In January, Facebook introduced Facebook At Work, a revamped version of the social network meant to boost office productivity. Amazon recently announced a new cloud-based corporate email solution. And Box, a corporate file storage and sharing platform, went public late last month at a valuation of $2.7 billion.

TIME Workplace & Careers

42% of Americans Didn’t Take Vacation in 2014, Survey Finds

Americans No Vacation 2014
Tetra Images - Chris Hackett—Getty Images/Brand X

Many Americans said they can't afford to use their vacation days

About 4 in 10 Americans didn’t use any of their vacation days in 2014, a new survey says.

Just under 42% of Americans didn’t take a single day of vacation in 2014, while about 15% of Americans took at least 20 days of vacation, according a survey by Skift, a travel intelligence site. The survey was administered via Google Consumer Surveys to 1,500 adult Americans on the Internet earlier this month.

The findings revealed that many full-time employed Americans have at least 10 days of allotted vacation, though only about 13% said they could afford to take that many. The survey also said that, on average, women took fewer vacation days than men.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Americans are reluctant to use their vacation time for fear of being replaced or worries of their work piling up. Employers are not required to give their workers paid time off under federal law.

TIME Workplace & Careers

7 Ways to Get Ahead at Work Before the New Year

160002679
Thomas Barwick—Getty Images Coworkers in discussion at conference room table

7 things you must do before January

You have a little more than a month to go before the end of the year, so make the most of it. Experts say these are the important things to get done now if you want to start your career in the new year off on the right foot:

List your wins. Think of the best three things you accomplished over the last year and write them down, says career coach and personal branding strategist Pamela Weinberg. “Having these accomplishments on paper will help you to be able to better articulate your strengths when you get a review, or bonus,” she says. And if you’re looking for a new job, you’ve just written a couple of your resume bullet points.

Deliver bad news. If you manage other workers, this is the time to have any hard conversations you’ve been putting off. “Think about needed discussions with your subordinates concerning ongoing work,” says career coach Todd Dewett. “What needs to be improved that you’ve noticed but not addressed?” Be as specific as possible so the employee knows how to improve in the new year.

Brace for change. “Companies are constantly evolving,” says Margaret Spence, an expert panelist at the Society for Human Resource Management. “This work economy doesn’t allow you to be stagnant in your career.” The end of the year is a great time to look ahead and figure out what you’re going to need to know for the coming year. Is the company shifting to a new tech platform or implementing a new process? Are there any legal or regulatory changes the new year will bring that will change how you do your job? Get out in front of these changes in advance, Spence advises.

Get people’s contact info. “Get in touch with people who are leaving [or] moving to new roles,” says Patti Johnson, author of Make Waves: Be the One to Start Change at Work and in Life. Get their personal phone number and email address so you can stay in touch, and make plans for an initial meet-up or get together now so you already have networking opportunities on your calendar for the new year.

Check in with your boss. “If you’ve signaled interest in a role shift or promotion and it’s been six months or more, it’s time to initiate conversation once again,” Dewett says. “You want to go into the new year with clarity about where to invest the bulk of your networking efforts — internally or externally.”

Plan on education. Consider your professional development and determine what skills you’ll need to make it to the next rung on the corporate ladder, Weinberg advises. Maybe a public speaking course or participation in an industry conference might give you the boost you need. “December is often a slow time business-wise so take some time to research how you might gain the skills you need to reach your 2015 career goals,” she says. Bonus: By getting a jump on this process, you won’t need to worry about a course or event selling out before you can sign up.

Say thanks. “It’s a great time to write hand-written personal notes of appreciation,” says career coach Glo Harris. She’s not referring to holiday cards, although those are important, too. The intent of this is to say thanks to standout clients, mentors and others. “Do the same with your team,” Harris says. Acknowledge what you appreciate about your colleagues — and be specific.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com