Americans Wary of Being Alone with Opposite Sex

by Seattle Soccer Mom

From a poll conducted on behalf of the NY Times:

  • 25% think private work meetings with colleagues of the opposite sex are inappropriate.
  • 30-40% say it’s inappropriate to be in a car with someone of the opposite sex.
  • Nearly two-thirds say people should take extra caution around members of the opposite sex at work.
  • A majority of women, and nearly half of men, say it’s unacceptable to have dinner or drinks alone with someone of the opposite sex other than their spouse.

These findings surprised me. I supervise both men and women and have weekly meetings (one on one) with the people I supervise. My office door is generally open unless we’re doing a performance review or discussing sensitive information. I wouldn’t be able to do my job if I couldn’t meet with men. I was surprised that 25% of the people in the poll said this would be inappropriate. I’ve also been in cars with men when we’ve gone to off-site meetings – not a big deal. I was surprised that so many people thought this would be inappropriate.

Totebaggers – what do you think of the poll results? Any that you agree or disagree with? Here’s a link to the article:

It’s Not Just Mike Pence. Americans Are Wary of Being Alone With the Opposite Sex.

How to deal with personal issues affecting work

by Louise

There have been a few times when health crisis/issues have forced me to request even more flexibility at work. One time I was reluctant to share the details but I found that all up the management chain were very sympathetic and actually asked me what I was doing at work instead of taking care of the issue.

Recently one new hire didn’t work out because she had not got over the death of a grown child. I felt I was way more sympathetic than others in my workplace.

How have you managed a personal crisis and work? Have you been forced eventually to quit because things became too hard to manage?

How To Deal With Personal Issues At Work (Keep Personal Issues From Harming Your Job And Career)

Gender imbalance in the workplace

by L

Why Is Silicon Valley So Awful to Women?

Why Men Don’t Want the Jobs Done Mostly by Women

Totebaggers, how would you suggest decreasing sexism and increasing the number of women in tech? Law? Banking? Other fields? On the other side of the coin, how would you increase the number of men in “pink collar” jobs? Or would you rather leave well enough alone? If gender gaps in certain jobs/industries don’t bother you, why not?

Office Dress Code – Is this Good Advice?

by AustinMom

I have worked in my industry and in my city for all of my professional life. I can say that over the past 30 years office wear has become more casual for both men and women. While some meetings and events still require formal business attire, mostly it is business casual. I came across this infographic. Of course it includes click bait – “style tricks that could earn you a promotion” – that pertains only to women.

I would agree with some of this, but maybe it is due to our warmer climate, but short sleeves (that come half-way between your shoulder and elbow) are not an issue in the work place. However, cap sleeves, sleeveless or spaghetti straps are offlimits unless they are under a jacket for women. I am surprised at how many younger women (35 and younger) try to pull off leggings in the workplace. It struck me last week when I went into the office, the number of leggings and tunic sweaters I saw.

How do people dress in your workplace?

This Infographic Is Your Ultimate Guide to Dressing for Work

Never Give All the Heart (to your colleagues)

by Honolulu Mother

This NYMag article briefly summarizes a much longer Harvard Business Review article by Adam Grant and Reb Rebele on the trade-off between being a giver at work (good for the organization!) and being too generous with yourself (bad for you!)   The sweet spot is apparently to be generous, but to know your limits and keep something back for yourself.

Where do you fall along the spectrum from taker to selfless giver (there’s a grid in the HBR article), at work and at home?  I suspect most of us will self-report as self-protective givers, the sweet spot, but I also suspect that category covers a wide range from aiming to have everyone owing you just one more favor than you owe them, to being an almost-selfless giver who holds just enough in reserve to avoid burnout.  And, I suspect most of us are closer to the selfless-giver end of the spectrum at home than at work.

Open Plan Offices – What do you think?

by Kerri

Open-Plan Offices Are the Worst

My office recently changed to an open plan (other than for senior management) and I am struggling with it.

It was pitched to us as a way to improve collaboration and foster creativity. When pressed, management acknowledged it also resulted in cost savings.

A few thoughts –

  • If we had been told this was, bottom line, a cost saving measure, instead of hearing spin about collaboration, creativity and innovation, would that have made the transition easier? Why the spin?
  • As an attorney, my job is to provide legal advice and to discuss sensitive issues. I have real concerns about confidentiality and my client’s willingness to share information with me in an open setting where others may overhear. I could book a conference room (although those are limited), however that extra step may inhibit candid discussions. Call it the PITA factor.
  • As an attorney, a good chunk of my job is reading really long documents, which requires a lot of focus. We have headsets but they are not noise canceling (again a cost saving measure). How am I going to function?
  • I feel a loss of status in losing my office. I see this in my colleagues as well, moral is not good. While I have an assigned desk, some of my (non-legal) colleagues are “hot desking” – taking what is available. We’ve also been discouraged from personalizing our work area.
  • I now have the option to work more from home. I don’t have a home office but have worked from home occasionally in the past. I usually get more done, including the laundry and the dishes =), but feel less connected. In the past I’ve been told face time is important for career advancement and to “lean-in”. (My company is big on buzzwords.) If more people are working from home, what does “leaning in” look like?
  • I am an introvert. I am really concerned that I will be less productive and more exhausted at the end of the day.
  • Are in person, telephone communications a thing of the past? How concerned are you about what’s in your e-mails?

How Wall Street titans Jamie Dimon, Warren Buffett, and Carl Icahn avoid using email

Have you transitioned to an open office? Any advice, tips? Any advice on working from home? Do you use e-mail extensively or limit its use?

Exercise at work

by Honolulu Mother

We’ve all heard how dangerous it is to spend all day sitting, and it’s recently been reported that we should be getting at least an hour a day of moderate exercise to counteract the effects of sitting down the rest of the day. But finding the time is difficult.

This Thrillist article proposes that exercising at work should be normalized:

YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO EXERCISE AT WORK WITHOUT FEELING LIKE A  FREAK

I have a yoga ball, aka an adult hippety-hop, that I sit on from time to time, although I’m dubious as to whether that really does much for my core. I just like bouncing while I work. Other than that, I just try to walk out a bit at lunchtime and take the long way to and from the bathroom. I do think my colleagues would look a bit askance at deskside burpees, wall squats, and so forth.

How about the rest of you? I remember that Risley has her under-desk cycle — is it still working out well? Have others found a good way to get in a little exercise at work? And do you think exercising at work should be a thing?

Fired

by Louise

This article caught my eye. One party was fired by their firm, the other was not fired by another firm and continues on.

On a radio show, I listen to callers describe situations and listeners and radio hosts guess whether they were fired or not. Many times, I have thought the callers must have gotten fired, but no – they carried on.

Have you been fired? Or know of situations where people should or should not have been fired?

Fifth Third Fired Counsel Over Relationship With Fannie CEO

What to Wear or Not When It’s Hot: Office Dress Codes

by Anon for This Topic

Today (mid-July), I received an email from our HR department reminding us of the office dress code policy.  I can’t post it for obvious reasons, but here is a bullet summary:

  • Employee’s appearance is a direct reflection on the level of professionalism at the organization.
  • Employees must follow the accepted standards of professional office attire.
  • Clothing or jewelry that could present a safety hazard is not permitted (although not in the policy the email goes on to say that flip flops are in this category)
  • Employee’s who do not meet with the public can wear business casual, but it cannot be inappropriate or provocative.
  • All attire must be neat and modest (although not in the policy, the email goes on to say that must be free from rips/tears, clean and no logos or printing other than employer issued shirts)
  • Supervisors can answer questions about what is appropriate.
  • Employees who violate the dress code can be asked to go home and change.  Time away from work to do this is uncompensated.

This comes on the heels of the following article in the New York Times.

The End of the Office Dress Code

This raises the question for me about how does one, especially women, figure out what the standards of professional attire are? I would not feel comfortable asking many of the supervisors I have had for input on this topic, but I have asked mentors. I have provided feedback to those I have mentored, both men and women, when asked or when it was clearly an issue. However, my preferred approach is to watch what my peers and higher ups wear and try to figure out their definitions of professional attire vs. business casual.

In general, I think my employer is fairly laid back as far as dress code standards, so I am curious who has worn what that prompted this. Does summer prompt dress code issues in your workplace or do you struggle more in the summer? Do you ever feel that this is just another area of ambiguous rules that can be bent to fit the situation?

Financial Benefits of Primping

by Honolulu Mother

This Washington Post article reports that for women, having a groomed and coiffed appearance seems to bring higher pay, well beyond the halo effect of attractiveness in general. I guess that Ipsy subscription isn’t an indulgence, it’s an investment.

While men also get an attractiveness bonus, theirs doesn’t hinge so much on grooming per se:

They found that a substantial amount of attractiveness was the result of grooming, and here’s where they found gender differences, Wong says. “For women, most of the attractiveness advantage comes from being well groomed. For men, only about half of the effect of attractiveness is due to grooming.”

For women, on the other hand, it seems we look disheveled at our peril:

In fact, as the charts below show, less attractive but more well-groomed women earned significantly more, on average, than attractive or very attractive women who weren’t considered well-groomed.

When I picture a senior woman in my field, the look that comes to mind could certainly be described as well-coiffed. I wouldn’t say the men are not well-groomed, though; it may be simply that there’s a lower bar for men to clear there. Totebaggers, do you see this effect in your profession?

Office dress codes?

by L

The end of the office dress code? Totebaggers, your thoughts?

The End of the Office Dress Code

Casual Friday and the ‘End of the Office Dress Code’

 

[Note:  Great minds think alike!  Louise sent in the same article with this comment:]

… But we can discuss all sorts of dress codes. School uniforms, prom fashions, guest at a party or wedding, bridal fashions, casual wear/athleisure – what’s acceptable, what’s not….

Post-Retirement Aged Workers In the Workplace

by Honolulu Mother

This Pacific Standard article on a 91 year old working as a designer was interesting, both because the woman herself sounds like an interesting and impressive person and also for the points it raised about whether our culture drives post-retirement-aged people away from potentially continuing to work and the effect on our workplaces:

We’ve marginalized a lot of populations based on blanket prejudices, and our attitude toward old people is no different, Irving says. “The ironic thing is that aging is the one thing we have in common, if we’re lucky.” All generations have to think about aging, since we’ll all be affected. The mixed workplace may help reduce these prejudices. By keeping older adults active and integrated in our communities—and by thinking about our communities as wholes, instead of as isolated pockets—we will all benefit from the knowledge and expertise that comes from lives lived with purpose and vigor.

Do you have co-workers who are post-retirement age? Would you like to keep working after normal retirement age?

‘Take this job and shove it’

by Anonymous

Would you ever resign from your job before you have another one lined up? What about to move to a dream location, such as NYC or San Francisco?

What circumstances would need to be in place to have you even consider? As a single person only responsible for yourself? What about a sole breadwinner of a family?

If I did something like this I would need to dip into my home equity and/or 401k savings.

Health insurance would either be through COBRA or ObamaCare.

I am currently miserable where I am (the boss, not the work).

The eyes have it

by Rocky Mountain Stepmom

What Google Learned from Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team

This is a long article about which work teams are successful, and why.
It has a lot to do with the soft skills of being able to read others’
facial expressions and body language and respond to those. I think there
are parallels for families, too. Do the conclusions seem correct to
you, Totebaggers?

Company benefits and perks

by Grace aka costofcollege

Inspired by a CollegeConfidential discussion about Work Holiday Perks I began to wonder about the most common or latest types of employment benefits.  Long-term parental leave has been in the news recently, with New York City one of the latest to offer this to some of its employees.

A young person I know scored big with time-off policies when he recently changed jobs to a London-based employer.  They offer at least 24 vacation days to everyone, plus they close the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  He was thrilled because most employers only offer 10-15 vacation days for their U.S.-based junior employees.

Flexibility is an important workplace perk for Totebaggers.  What other benefits do you value?  Do you see any trends, positive or negative, in job benefits?

Happy New Year!  There will not be a post tomorrow, but maybe you can share how you rang in the new year and any other topics on your mind.

The long and winding career path

by Grace aka costofcollege

When asked how she ended up as White House press secretary, Dana Perino explained that her career began with an unlikely job.

Well, it started with a job as an overnight country music DJ in southern Colorado. The truth is, there’s no clear path. Everything I did — taking lots of risks, getting over my fears — led me to be the right press secretary at the right time.

Many careers take a winding path.  My first job out of college was in the dusty oil fields of West Texas, and my last job was amid the skyscrapers of Wall Street.  I’m both delighted and nervous to observe the unlikely paths of my children’s careers,  As happens in many cases, the jobs they have now were not on their radar screen until very recently.

Has your career followed a straight and narrow path, or a crooked and winding one?  What do you observe around you?  What do you see or expect for your children?  What relevant career advice would you like to share?

Also notice that Perino’s big job required her to sacrifice work-life balance.

Q: How did you maintain a healthy work-life balance when you were working in the White House?

A: I didn’t. I ate little, slept terribly and was susceptible to migraines. But I got through it. I think it helped that there was an end date, so I could give my all for those days, knowing the best opportunity of my life wasn’t going to last forever.

Smart slackers

by Grace aka costofcollege

“I divide my officers into four classes; the clever, the lazy, the industrious, and the stupid. Each officer possesses at least two of these qualities. Those who are clever and industrious are fitted for the highest staff appointments. Use can be made of those who are stupid and lazy. The man who is clever and lazy however is for the very highest command; he has the temperament and nerves to deal with all situations. But whoever is stupid and industrious is a menace and must be removed immediately!” — General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord

20151019.TLazyIntelligentMatrix

WHY LAZY AND INTELLIGENT PEOPLE ACHIEVE MORE IN LIFE

Do you agree? Which quadrant do you occupy?

As a kid, I got lectured for only doing the bare minimum to complete a task. As an engineer, I get paid to do just that.

Does this work in real life?  How do you apply this idea when parenting?  And, is there a gender component to this way of thinking?

Dressing Down At The Office And Elsewhere

by Grace aka costofcollege

The trend toward more casual dressing draws mixed opinions.  I mainly like it, but sometimes it goes too far.

For the love of God, stop dressing like crap

… So while you can hold on to your crop tops and ratty band tees, you may also think twice about where and when you wear them. After all, if you dress better, you’ll feel better.

Recently while enjoying sushi at a “nice” local restaurant, I couldn’t help but notice the guys at the table next to us who were dressed like this guy, but with team logo tank tops.

20150811.TTankTop2

 

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s sometimes a bit confused about appropriate dress.  Lately my questions have been more about men’s sartorial style.

What does “business casual” actually mean at your workplace?  This seems to be common garb for the men I’ve seen lately on their way to the office.  Later when the weather turns cooler, many will add a blazer to their look.

20150809.TBusCasual3
Is the “3-day beard” look acceptable at your office?  Even if you don’t look like Ben Affleck?

20150809.T3DayStubble

And can men wear shorts everywhere these days?

Do you trend toward casual or more dressed up?  How do people dress at your workplace?  Do you care how other people dress?

Rewards That Aren’t Raises

By AustinMom

When we first start out in our careers, it is often all about the money as parents withdraw their financial support and our paychecks must cover all of our basic needs plus our desires. However, when pay exceeds those basic needs, do we value that raise or other rewards, such as more time off?

The article below opines that workers who are taking other rewards in lieu of raises may be hurting themselves in the long run. In my opinion, the article mixes some non-monetary and monetary benefits in the same category. For example, paid health insurance – assuming you will carry health insurance, shifting the cost from the employee (automatic payroll withdrawal) to employer paid does free up cash for the employee. Others, such as time off or access to a gym membership you won’t use (due to location or desire) do not impact your paycheck.

Has your company shifted to other rewards in lieu of raises? How has it affected you? How do you see it affecting the next generation of workers (including your kids)?

Companies have found something to give their workers instead of raises

When Reality Hits

by Rocky Mountain Stepmom

I’m 28, I just quit my tech job, and I never want another job again

Young person learns that jobs are sometimes boring and stupid and your
personal fulfillment isn’t the boss’s priority. Film at 11.

More seriously, should we be doing more to help our snowflakes
understand that the adults around them will suddenly stop caring about
their Maslovian self-actualization as soon as they turn 22 and hit the
workforce?

Public Speaking

by Grace aka costofcollege

Hillary Clinton Can’t Give a Decent Speech. Does It Matter?

… Great speeches require something Clinton has refused to give: exposure, access, the illusion of intimacy….

Rhetorical skill alone has become something of an essential skill for the modern politician. It has put several of them on the map as serious presidential contenders, from Ronald Reagan to Mario Cuomo to Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren.Consider the defining campaign speeches. At the 1992 Democratic convention, Bill Clinton memorably invoked his belief in “a place called Hope,” while George H. W. Bush delivered a weak and disjointed address littered with phrases like “serious business” and “You bet.” There were Obama’s 2008 remarks on race and John F. Kennedy’s on religious freedom.

Speech making may be important to politicians, but I doubt anyone counts on beating Clinton just “because she can’t give a good speech”.  And it’s not as if many of her opponents are particularly outstanding in that department.

I agree that great public speakers give “the illusion of intimacy”, and in that way they effectively engage their audience.

Are you a good public speaker, or even a great one?  How did you build up your skills?  Or, do you fear public speaking?  How have good or bad public speaking skills affected your career or other parts of your life?  Which politicians are the best and the worst speechmakers?

Related:  “How I Overcame the Fear of Public Speaking”

Do You Know Brand Names

by Grace costofcollege

In many business and social situations, there’s value in being savvy about brand names.  Like it or not, we are often judged by our clothes, cars, and other accouterments of life.  And knowing the same about others can help us be more astute in all types of relationships.

Here’s the hierarchy of luxury brands around the world

Do you know how to pronounce Hermes or other brand names?  To make it easy on myself, I only say “Stella” when ordering my favorite beer.

The Right Way To Say 15 Brand Names You’re Mispronouncing All The Time

Are you brand-savvy?  Can you tell the difference between a Cartier and a Timex? (Okay, that’s probably an easy one.)  How important is it for you to know brands?  Do you feel judged by the shoes you wear or the car you drive?

Family-Friendly Perks

by Regular Poster

My husband had a recent period of employment by one of the technology giants. Given the reputation, I expected that our lives would be much improved (in what way, I don’t really know). However, as a spouse and mother of small children, it was unpleasant to hostile. He went there from an environment that had been very inclusive (a start-up that had frequent gatherings, invited partners to important company announcements, celebrated employee milestones, etc.) Visiting the new office required registration and a badge, and after 18 months I didn’t know the name of a single co-worker.

While it is a luxury to complain about how generous benefits and perks are not working out well for your family, this recent NYT article rang true.

Silicon Valley: Perks for Some Workers, Struggles for Parents

The “great benefits” technology company he worked for had amazing things going on – I think. All of the information was contained on a secure company wiki. That means I could not find out about anything without asking DH pointed questions. There was no employee handbook. I think there was a gym benefit, there might have been some other things we could have used. In order to sort through health insurance options, I had to look over DH’s shoulder — he took seriously the admonitions about company security and not allowing me to navigate the wiki. In the end, we never used our vision insurance because it was just too complicated for me to manage.

But these examples exaggerate how family-friendly tech companies are, especially after the newborn phase… Some benefits, like free meals and on-site laundry, have a flip side of discouraging people from leaving.

In our experience, the family friendly programs seemed to be geared for employees in the first few years of parenthood. There was generous leave for new parents – sounded awesome, but we are past that stage. There was emergency child care coverage – but they would only pay for a specific day care center – and had to be booked in advance (somewhat negating the “emergency” part of the program). It was complicated – the center required for us to have vaccination records on file. The two times we tried to use it was unavailable for three children – and was a non-starter once kids had to be in school.

In any case, he ended up leaving because he didn’t like the work he was doing. He is now employed with a far more traditional employer with fewer benefits and a higher salary. He is home for breakfast and dinner. I have to say it is an improvement.

Totebaggers, what has your experience been with “family-friendly perks”? What would you want a company to offer? Would you stay for any of these benefits? A lot has been written about Google’s failed foray into on-site childcare — do you see that ever becoming a benefit that high-demand employees can expect?

Business Travel

by Grace aka costofcollege

What are the benefits of business travel?

201503.eMiscMarPhoto1BI

A lifetime supply of hotel shampoo may be one benefit, but what else?  Chances to travel to places you would otherwise never go?  (That could mean Paris or Peoria.)  A break in the office routine?  (Too many breaks can be stressful.)  The ability to build up mileage and the associated perks?  (Even deluxe airport lounges can’t make up for too much time away from family.)

My perfect travel schedule would probably be one trip about every other month, planned well in advance, to destinations that have attractions above and beyond mundane office parks.

Do you like business travel, or hate it?  Do you travel much in your present job?  What would be your ideal work travel pattern?  Tell us your best and worst travel stories.

A New Mom’s Questions

by Rhode

I’m returning to work next Monday. My husband is taking 8 weeks paternity leave starting today.

How did moms and dads handle the transition between leave and return to full-time work? Any tips?

Also, now that my mom is moving, I’m staying with my in-laws when visiting NJ. I’m not terribly comfortable there. It is emotionally draining to be a better version of myself. With my mom, if I want to cry in a corner I can. With my mother-in-law, I need to be stoic and bite back any strong emotions. I don’t even feel comfortable enough to wear my pajamas to breakfast. Any tips from Totebaggers on how to get comfortable in their home? Any tips on how to let them help me parent my son?