MONEY Workplace

Meet The People Who Work On Thanksgiving (So You Don’t Have To)

policeman watching the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade
John Minchillo—AP

Here's what the people forced to work on Thanksgiving have to say.

On Thanksgiving morning, Claire Graves will not be sleeping in, nor will she be getting a turkey into the oven. Instead, at 7 a.m. Graves will be at Columbia University Medical Center starting the first hour of a 24-hour shift as a general surgery resident. While her family is in Atlanta digging into a turkey dinner, she will be over 700 miles away in New York City, working the hospital’s trauma beat.

“I’ll probably leave the hospital around 9 or 9:30 a.m. the day after,” she guesses. “My mom is not happy, but she’s known it’s been coming.”

Graves is one of roughly 1 in 4 Americans, according to an Allstate/National Journal poll, who will be working on either Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s Day. Society still has to function, holiday or not, and it’s this 25% of the workforce that helps make it possible for the rest of us to enjoy our time off.

What’s it like being part of the Thanksgiving labor force? We reached out to a variety of different professions to find out.

The Doctor
Graves isn’t exactly happy she’s working on Thanksgiving, but for her, it’s part of the job:

“I expected it to happen. I’m grateful I’ve gotten to spend the past two Thanksgivings with the family. One of us has to be here… I’m expecting it to be fairly quiet”

Any Turkey?

“The nurses always have potlucks so the food is fantastic. They always feed the residents.”

The Retail Worker
Marie Baldwin, a 20-year old Minnesota resident, has worked three Thanksgivings at various clothing stores, and she’ll be on the job again this Thursday. Understandably, she’s not look forward to it:

“[In the past] I’ve been at the store at 7 p.m. on Thanksgiving, so it cut everything short. Thanksgiving isn’t really a holiday for me. I get to see family, but it’s really short, whereas Christmas I have the time to relax. There’s no impending doom of Black Friday so it’s a lot less stressful.”

Could it be worse?

“I worked for Ralph Lauren for two years. One time, I had a 7 p.m. shift on Thanksgiving Day, and the next day a shift at 1 a.m., something just really awful.”

Are the customers insane?

“Uhh Yeahhh, there’s definitely a type. If you’re going Black Friday shopping, you’re really there to get a good price. The people who go out, they’re just not afraid to really get angry.”

“There have been a few customers just not having it at 4 a.m… I’ve had a lot of merchandise thrown at me.”

“People always expect more on sale than what retailers are offering so they’ll try to barter with you—which is ridiculous because there’s nothing I can do—and they’ll get really mad if you don’t give that ‘yes’ answer.”

The Police Officer
Chris James has worked for the Riverhead, Long Island police department for 20 years. During that time, he’s worked roughly 15 Thanksgivings.

What are your holidays like?

“On Thanksgiving, we do the quiches for breakfast and then the family does Thanksgiving afterwards and I get the leftovers. After 20 years, I can honestly say that feels like my norm, as difficult as it sounds.”

How does your family feel about it?

“You know, my kids have dealt with it since they were born. As they get older it wears a little thin on them. It takes away from the holiday spirit, but they accept it.”

“When the kids were young I would try to switch with other guys, the older guys, so at least I was around at Christmas morning for the kids. Not so much for Thanksgiving. That’s something they learned to live with.”

On the workload:

“With holidays like [Thanksgiving] you tend to be a little on the busy side. The alcohol and everything else kicks in… It tends to be a little busy as the evening goes on… There have been disputes where things got very ugly, but that’s mostly on Christmas.”

The Firefighter
Jim Long, director of public information for the Fire Department of New York, gave us some insight into as to how city firefighters celebrate the holiday.

On the big meal:

“Most firehouses will probably take time out to cook a traditional seasonal meal, in this case turkey and all of the other items that come along with it. All the fixins, whatever they choose. But they are working, and there’s a day crew and a night crew.”

On work/life balance:

“I’m sure they take some time to spend with the family and acknowledge the holiday. Some might do a brunch, some might do an early dinner. You understand when you come on the FDNY that you will sacrifice a lot to family time, especially in the holiday season.”

The Retail Techie
Sharon Khander, a recent college grad working for a large national clothing department store’s website, is responsible for making sure your online shopping experience goes smoothly during the holidays.

What’s your job right now?

“Before Thanksgiving we move all the content from the staging environment we use for testing. Going from that staging environment to the live site, there can be a lot of differences.”

“On Thursday morning at 4 a.m., before shoppers are awake, we test all the features, like doing a fake checkout with a fake card to make sure everything goes okay… We have to constantly monitor all the popular products and put a sold out message up right as we’re about to run through all the stock.”

“I should be out of the office by noon and off to Thanksgiving, but it’s still difficult to wake up that early on a holiday.”

MONEY workplace etiquette

When It Is—and Isn’t—Okay to Text Your Boss

Robert A. Di Ieso, Jr.

Q: Is it okay to text my boss?

A: The answer depends the signals you’ve received in the past from your supervisor and on the information you’re trying to convey.

With the rapid rise in smartphone usage and the huge number of millennials now in the workforce, texting is indeed becoming more acceptable as a professional way to communicate, says Praful Shah, senior vice president of strategy at Ring Central, which makes business communication products.

“There’s been a huge shift toward businesses using texting for communicating with customers, partners and employees,” he notes. “For the younger generation of workers, it’s a natural part of their life and they are bringing behavior from their personal life into business.”

Still, it’s not right for every situation.

How to Tell if Your Boss Is Open to Receiving Texts

While surveys show that Gen Y is more attached to their mobile devices than older folks, across all generations more than 90% of people who own a smartphone text regularly. So age shouldn’t be a factor in deciding whether to contact your boss in this manner.

Rather, look out for one of these two clues that your boss would be okay with hearing from you by text:

1) He or she has texted you in the past.

OR

2) He or she has provided his or her cell number on the staff directory or in an email signature.

How to Tell if a Text is the Right Way to Communicate

A text is best reserved for situations in which you need an immediate response or want to provide a quick important piece of information, says Shah. But if you need more than a few brief sentences, an email is more appropriate.

Also, when the information is sensitive—such as a project being cancelled—it’s usually better to talk in person or by phone (though you could request the person’s time by text).

Timing is important, too. If it’s late at night or you know your boss in is in a meeting, a text can be intrusive and disruptive, says Shah. “For information that can wait, use email so your boss can decide when to respond.”

Accurate, real-time salaries for thousands of careers.

You should also limit frequency. You may text back and forth a lot with friends. But you don’t want to annoy the person who decides your raises.

Finally, your texts shouldn’t be as casual as the ones you send in your personal life. Use emoticons and abbreviations sparingly. “An occasional thumbs up symbol is fine,” says Shah.

You’re probably not writing full sentences, so grammar isn’t that important. But spelling is. “No matter what form of communication you’re using is at work, you look sloppy if you have misspellings,” says Shah. Read a text before you send it so that you won’t have to blame autocorrect.

Do you have a question about workplace etiquette for our experts? Write to Career@moneymail.com.

 

TIME mental health

Women in Positions of Power Show More Signs of Depression Than Men

A study found that women in the workplace experience more symptoms as they gain job authority, while the opposite is true for men

Symptoms of depression become more prevalent for women as they obtain job authority but less prevalent for men, a new study from the University of Texas at Austin suggests.

Researchers looked at 1,300 middle-aged men and 1,500 middle-aged women for the study, “Gender, Job Authority and Depression,” which appears in the December issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. Women with the ability to affect pay and fire and hire others had more symptoms of depression than women without such authority. Men with similar authority at work had fewer symptoms of depression than those without, the study reports.

“What’s striking is that women with job authority in our study are advantaged in terms of most characteristics that are strong predictors of positive mental health,” said sociologist Tetyana Pudrovska. “These women have more education, higher incomes, more prestigious occupations, and higher levels of job satisfaction and autonomy than women without job authority. Yet, they have worse mental health than lower-status women.”

One explanation is that women face more stressors at work when in positions of power because they are faced with overcoming more stereotypes and resistance to their leadership. Men, on the other hand, don’t appear to face such obstacles.

“Men in positions of authority are consistent with the expected status beliefs, and male leadership is accepted as normative and legitimate,” Pudrovska said. “This increases men’s power and effectiveness as leaders and diminishes interpersonal conflict.”

MONEY Workplace

Why Coworking Is Hot

shared workspace
Hero Images—Getty Images

These shared workspaces for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and other independent workers tend to feel hip, fun, and casual -- but their success is about much more than cool design.

Coworking spaces – where freelancers, entrepreneurs, and other independent workers pay a fee to share a workspace and benefit from working in the presence of one another – are hot. More than 160,000 people worldwide are members of over 3,000 coworking spaces, according to a recent report by DeskMag.com and Emergent Research, up from just 20,000 workers in 500 spaces in 2010.

My colleagues Gretchen Spreitzer and Lyndon Garrett and I set out to understand what draws people to coworking and what accounts for its success. We surveyed members from over 40 coworking spaces around the United States, analyzed the websites of over 100 U.S. coworking spaces, visited a handful of spaces in major U.S. cities, and spent several months as participant observers in one local coworking community in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Given the coolness factor of coworking spaces – especially those that attract members with hip design and high levels of service – we figured that their design had something to do with the success of the phenomenon. But we wondered what other factors drove the success of the coworking model. Several interesting insights emerged.

Coworking fosters personal growth and community building

In his recent book, The Purpose Economy, social entrepreneur Aaron Hurst writes how coworking spaces are a powerful tool for cultivating community among a new class of workers who are driven to organize their professional lives around continuous personal growth, meaningful relationships, and the service of something greater than themselves.

One of the aims of the coworking movement is to provide people with a safe space where they can be themselves at work. But it also encourages members to explore shared interests with one another and collaborative opportunities that go beyond daily work routines. Grind, for example, a New York-based coworking space that participated in our study, offers tips to its members on how to move beyond their natural comfort zone and meet fellow members.

We also found learning to be a necessary component of what makes coworking a successful model. Member education is an explicit part of the mission of many coworking spaces. We saw spaces supporting member education, member support networks, and access to professional development opportunities and mentorship. Many spaces also host social events like happy hours, networking events, and guest lectures in order to reinforce learning and community building.

The most successful build “just right” communities

That is, just right in that they involve newcomers as much or as little as they want, without any pressure.

Unlike a traditional shared rental office where people largely want a quiet professional space to work without being bothered by others, many coworking spaces curate an experience that allows potential members to try the space and meet other members to see if there is a fit.

But unlike a traditional work organization that does this through the hiring process, coworking has low switching costs for members and doesn’t actually commit them to any aspect of the work experience that is meaningless to them. The result is that coworking gives a non-overbearing sense of belonging to those who want to be part of the community.

Coworking isn’t just for start-ups and freelancers

Although the earliest coworking communities were organized to provide an alternative to coffee shops or working at home to freelancers and entrepreneurs, we learned that coworking spaces are reaching diverse segments of the workforce. We found some spaces catering to writers and artists by emphasizing affordability and an atmosphere of creativity, for example. Others, including some of the most welcoming communities in our sample, attract women entrepreneurs.

But coworking also helps people keep good jobs with conventional employers in cases when, for example, they are forced to move for a spouse’s job change. In fact, 21% of U.S. sites explicitly market to remote workers, and one-third of our survey respondents were employed full-time by some other company. On average, these individuals are spending 65% of their time working from a coworking space.

“We have seen individuals who come in to avoid the commute to their traditional office space,” says Michael Kenny, managing partner of San Diego-based Co-Merge, a space that participated in our study. At Co-Merge, users from Accenture, Groupon, and Citrix are using the space on a regular basis. Co-Merge also has members who remotely work full-time for companies in other major cities such as Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington.

It’s the authentic sense of community where intrinsically motivated people who experience a sense of purpose in their work and thrive together that substantiates the coworking movement. Given these qualities, we expect to see a growing number of flexible workers try coworking — and a growing number of employers embracing coworking as a tool to help their increasingly mobile and flexible workforce to do their best work.

Peter A. Bacevice (@Bacevice) is a researcher with the Center for Positive Organizations (@PositiveOrg) at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business (@MichiganRoss) and senior design strategist with the New York office of HLW International (@HLWIntl). Gretchen Spreitzer is the Keith E. and Valerie J. Alessi Professor of Business Administration and Professor of Management and Organizations at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Lyndon Garrett is a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

 

MONEY managing

4 Ways to Make Millennials Happier at Work

Workplace Birthday
Colleagues celebrating birthday in office Ronnie Kaufman/Larry Hirshowitz—Getty Images

A new survey from Payscale and branding expert Dan Schawbel offers insights into what managers can do to retain Gen Y employees.

Managers, get ready: By 2030, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

And a new survey from Payscale, led by Dan Schawbel of Millennial Branding, finds this generation to be more ambitious than those who came before them. Nearly three quarters of Millennials say that an ideal job would offer some career advancement, more than Gen X and boomers. The report also pinpoints the specific types of conditions and leadership Gen Y’ers crave at work.

Play to those needs and your business may also be able to boost retention, Schawbel says.

His report finds that 26% of Gen Y workers believe employees should only be expected to stay in a job for a year or less before seeking a new role elsewhere. As an employer, that kind of turnover can be pricey. “It costs about $20,000 to replace each Millennial,” says Schawbel.

And considering the time it takes to fill that position and the stress workers take on to cover for the job in that time, it’s worth keeping a talented Millennial happy at work, he says.

As managers, here are four ways to give in to this demographic—while still getting what you need out of them.

1. Lead with the Positive

Remember, this is the generation that still got trophies when they lost a little league game. Their parents flashed bumper stickers stating that “Junior Made the Honor Roll.”

For this cohort, it’s more effective to give constructive feedback that points out what they’re doing right ahead of what they’re doing wrong. “Millennials want feedback, but they don’t want criticism,” says Schawbel.

An effective manager sets up expectations from the beginning, and offers compliments before giving negative feedback. “The tone is really important,” he says.

2. Treat them like Family

Gen Y thinks of their boss as their “work parent” and coworkers as “work relatives,” notes Schawbel.

In fact 72% want a manager who’s friendly and inviting. That compares to 63% of Gen Xers and 61% of Baby Boomers.

Reciprocate and play to those needs via team-building exercises, office happy-hour outings, volunteering opportunities and mentorship programs. The goal is to make it so there’s a real cost to them for quitting, says Schawbel. “They lose that family and they lose that culture for leaving.”

3. Promote from Within

Millennials want to lead. Therefore, demonstrating to your staff—particularly the 20-something set—that there’s a strong chance for upward mobility is imperative. If you constantly hire externally for advanced positions, how can you expect them to want to stay?

Besides engendering loyalty, raising up someone internally is a lot cheaper. Bringing in an outsider is “1.7 times the cost of internal hiring,” says Schawbel.

4. Give Them Ownership

This is not to say that you should give them a fat equity stake or a seat on the board.

The majority of Millennials say they want the opportunity to learn new skills and freedom from their managers. They want to own their projects from start to finish. To that end, an “intapreneurship” program—where you encourage workers to develop ideas for new products and services in an in-house incubator—can go a long way in keeping Millennials happy.

LinkedIn, Google and Lockheed Martin have their own versions of this kind of program.

How it works: Employees to come up with a business plan and pitch it to executives. For Millennials such projects offer the best of both worlds—they get to experiment freely like entrepreneurs but within the comforting structure of a 9 to 5 (dental included).

Farnoosh Torabi is a contributing editor at MONEY and the author of the book When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women. More of her columns and videos for MONEY.com:

TIME Careers & Workplace

7 Essential Rules For Texting at Work

143383028
Go ahead, text. Blend Images - REB Images—Getty Images/Brand X

Here's how to "speak text" on the job

If you see young people at work texting all the time, don’t assume they’re chatting with friends.

Roughly one in seven millennials in a recent survey said they prefer text messaging over other methods of communication at work. Given this demographic’s size and rising clout in the workforce, this means one thing: If you don’t already text with your co-workers, it’s probably only a matter of time.

The problem is, there isn’t a lot of guidance around what, for most people, is a casual form of communication, says Jason Dorsey, chief strategy officer at the Center for Generational Kinetics. “Many employee manuals and orientations don’t cover texting at work, which makes knowing what to do or not to do all the more stressful,” he says.

So, we asked experts in workplace communications, human resources and millennial behavior to weigh in with some rules for texting at work. Here’s what they say:

Ask first. Just because you have a colleague’s mobile number doesn’t give you carte blanche to fire off a thumb-typed note, especially when it comes to your boss, Dorsey says. “Your company may have a policy or compliance issues that says texting is not allowed,” he points out. Plus, it’s entirely possible the recipient might find the communication intrusive instead of imperative.

Skip the salutations. “It’s fine to leave out formalities, best wishes, kind regards-type wording in text messages and get straight to the point,” says Matt Mickiewicz, CEO of job-search site Hired.com. If you’re not certain if the recipient will recognize your mobile number, it’s fine to start off with, “Hi, it’s so-and-so,” but that’s it.

Keep it brief.Texting is an interruption driven communications, less intrusive than calling, but more than an email correspondence,” says Praful Shah, senior vice president of strategy at cloud-based phone company RingCentral. “Only text when response time is important.”

Know when to kill it. “Texts should be used to share a key piece of information or ask a short question,” says Paul Wolfe, senior vice president of human resources at job-search site Indeed.com. They’re not meant for hashing out complicated situations or providing tons of detail.

“If it takes more than three text messages to answer your question, stop texting and call them,” Dorsey says.

Abbreviate judiciously, spell correctly. In general, you can get away with commonly used abbreviations, Dorsey says. That is, unless your boss spells everything out, in which case — sorry — you should, too. The brief nature of text messages means that truncated grammar is generally OK, but it’s still important to make sure your spelling is correct.

Reply promptly. “Since texting should be much more brief than an email, it should be easy to respond to more quickly than an email,” Wolfe says. Put it in the same category of communications as an instant message, and reply accordingly.

No emoticons. Just — no. Save that for chats with your friends or your kids, not the person who signs your paycheck.

MONEY Workplace

3 Ways to Keep Your Workload From Crushing You

For salaried employees, the typical workweek now totals 49 hours. lucas zarebinski

Feeling overwhelmed and overloaded at work? Here's how to take back your time.

So much for 9 to 5. The average full-time salaried employee is now putting in nearly 10 hours a day, according to a recent Gallup poll (up slightly from a weekly average of 47 hours in 2007). Even grimmer: 25% say they’re regularly working a 60-hour week.

Feeling overwhelmed and overloaded? There are some simple tactics that will help you keep your workday in check.

Get your priorities straight. “Do the most important or most difficult task first,” says Mitzi Weinman of professional development firm TimeFinder. Starting with the quick, easy jobs is tempting, but delaying the thornier tasks just increases the odds that you’ll need to stay late to finish.

Plug productivity leaks. Try tracking your activities: Write down everything you do in half-hour increments. You may discover that you’re spending more time, say, browsing social media than you thought. Set a limit for how long you can spend on any time-sucking activity and stick to it.

Manage messages. Email, while necessary, can be a distraction, says Patricia Thompson, a psychologist and career coach. Decide how often you need to check messages, then shut down your email program between checks (mute smartphone alerts as well).

TIME Companies

Apple Wants a Bite of Corporate Business

Apple To Report Quarterly Earnings
The Apple logo is displayed on the exterior of an Apple Store on April 23, 2013 in San Francisco, California. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

The personal device maker eyes the fast-growing mobile market for business professsionals

Apple has created a sales team dedicated to pitching new products and deals to corporate clients, according to a new report, heralding a new focus on office sales at a time when growth in its lucrative consumer business has slowed.

Reuters, citing unnamed sources familiar with the plan, reports that Apple has dispatched a sales team to meet with chief information officers at several corporations, including Citigroup. The company has also partnered with developers specializing in office management apps.

The move comes three months after Apple announced a partnership with IBM to deliver more mobile apps and devices to offices, putting it in direct competition with established players such as Microsoft and fast-growing entrants such as Google.

Read more at Reuters

TIME Mental Health/Psychology

Answering Emails After Work Is Bad For Your Health

hands keyboard
Getty Images

The new science on "telepressure"

Email was supposed to free up time in workplace communications: Send some in lieu of an in-person meeting! Work remotely! Take your time crafting one instead of blurting out something stupid!

But now that everyone is so instantly reachable, work email has slipped its tentacles into our off-the-clock lives, subtly demanding evening responses and extending the workday indefinitely. Now, 52% of Americans check their e-mail before and after work, even when they take a sick day; ignoring email can seem more stressful than dashing off a quick response. But all that continuous connection comes at a cost to our health, finds new research published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology.

Larissa Barber, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Northern Illinois University, has a name for this phenomenon: telepressure. It’s the urge to respond immediately to work-related messages, no matter when they come. “It’s like your to-do list is piling up, so you’re cognitively ruminating over these things in the evening and re-exposing yourself to workplace stressors,” Barber says.

This continuous work connection has very real health effects, the study found: employees who reported more telepressure also reported worse sleep, higher levels of burnout and more health-related absences from work. “When people don’t have this recovery time, it switches them into an exhaustion state, so they go to work the next day not being engaged,” Barber says.

Why do we feel this need to reply so fast? Nobody’s forcing us to respond—only 21% of workplaces have policies about communication use outside of work hours, found a 2012 survey from the Society of Human Resource Management. “It’s so new to us, this idea of boundary-less work, that we’re just not sure how to manage it yet,” Barber says.

Barber’s study also looked at whether individual traits predicted who felt telepressured, or if being a type-A overachiever made you more or less susceptible than those with more laidback working habits. Her results revealed that individual differences are only weakly associated—telepressure is a workplace problem, not a worker problem. We learn how to respond to email through our colleagues’ behavior, she found, and it’s a consequence of the social dynamics within a work environment.

“‘As soon as possible’ means different things to different people, but of course if you’re nervous about impressing your boss or coworkers, you probably think it needs to be immediately,” says Barber.

How can you make yourself a little less telestressed? First, think about where your own telepressure is coming from, Barber says. It may be worth having a conversation with your supervisor about email expectations—or, if you’re the boss, try to be a good role model for connectivity and recovery, Barber says.

Changing the conversational nature of your emails also helps. “We’ll talk to people like we’re having those synchronous conversations, face-to-face,” she says. “We’ll send an email and say, ‘Hey, what do you want to do for lunch today?’” Conversational back-and-forth emails like that all but demand an immediate response, partly because it seems rude not to reply. But being explicit about the purpose and timeline of your email really helps. Barber keeps a kind of email office hours, letting her inquirers know what time she’s available to answer messages. She ends her emails to me with phrases like “No need to respond to this message” and “I look forward to hearing from you between 8:30-11:30am tomorrow”—and it does feel pretty satisfying.

But as much as we hate being telepressured, we absolutely love telepressuring others. “We all get kind of used to that immediate gratification of getting fast responses and having those communications that are complete,” Barber says. “We all like it when other people are telepressured, because it helps us complete our tasks faster.” Still, it’s neither sustainable nor good for our health—and it might take an email revolution of a different sort to change things.

TIME Careers & Workplace

5 Horrible Habits You Need to Stop Right Now

Author Tim Ferriss suggests some common bad habits you should definitely add to your not-to-do-list


This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

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