About 40 percent of workers are looking for better jobs

A new survey sheds light on just how many workers will search for a new job in the coming months, although many are pessimistic about their career paths.

Almost half of U.S. workers — 48 percent — are likely to look for a new job in the next year, according to the American Staffing Association Workforce Monitor survey. The Harris Poll conducted the survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults.; 1,111 were employed.

Almost 40 percent are likely to change careers, the survey found. Broken down by generation, 51 percent of Millennials expressed this, 39 percent of Gen Zers, 34 percent of Gen Xers and just 12 percent of Baby Boomers.

Possibly the most telling survey finding: Almost 45 percent of workers worry they’ll never find their perfect job.

Among office-administrative, industrial and professional-managerial industry sectors, 51 percent, 48 percent and 47 percent have this concern, per survey results. About 40 percent of healthcare workers and one-third of engineering, IT and scientific sector workers also feel pessimistic about this.

Just over 60 percent of those who are unemployed but looking also worry about finding the perfect job. Among students, about 7 in 10 have this concern, perhaps deservedly so, considering the unemployment rate is currently higher for recent college graduates than other age groups.

Another survey also found close to half of workers will look for new jobs in the coming months. A recent Gallup poll revealed less than half of workers would call their jobs good and women of color are most likely to be disappointed with their employment.

When employees do quit, a bad boss is to blame about half the time, one recent poll found.

“It’s a job seeker’s market — a reality lost on many people who, as the ASA Workforce Monitor shows, sadly lack optimism about their prospects of finding a perfect position,” said Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and CEO, per a news release.

The economy added 128,000 jobs in October — the 109th month of consecutive job growth — and the unemployment rate stayed low at 3.6 percent, per The New York Times.

To meet demand for workers, companies have begun to recruit retirees, immigrants, stay-at-home parents and those with disabilities or criminal records, per The New York Times.

To get them to stay, employers are offering continued learning or professional development opportunities, or cultivating a strong company culture.

Wage growth, however, remains stagnant and income inequality is growing, and experts point out that job quality has declined over the past four decades.

Other reasons workers might be feeling pessimistic about their prospects, HR Dive notes, include negative experiences with recruiting processes, or learning things about companies through rating sites that leave job seekers uneasy.

BAD-BOSS: NY employers using wage theft to gain competitive advantage

A small army of waiters, deliverymen and busboys who worked at a Mott Street dim sum joint sued their boss earlier this year for cheating them out of wages — and they won.

But collecting on the $943,000 that Joy Luck Palace was ordered to pay them in September has been harder than winning the federal lawsuit.

In fact, not a single worker has received a cent, they told the Daily News.

Jin Ming “Vincent” Cao, 36, is one of the 19 workers who sued the restaurant’s owners and operators. He was working as a waiter at Joy Luck Palace in June 2018 when the management abruptly stopped paying wages. He and his colleagues stayed on working for tips, but then, two months later, the restaurant closed down.

“We realized we weren’t going to get our wages so we decided to do something,” he said.

They filed a lawsuit and won a judgement of $943,000. Cao’s portion of that is $64,285 — which he has yet to receive. That’s because, according to Cao, the restaurant’s owners and operators had plenty of time to hide their assets as the lawsuit ground to a conclusion.

Thomas Power, the attorney for the stiffed workers, noted that the defendants did not show up for any of the litigation.

“It’s fair to suspect that they have taken some steps to move their assets,” he said.

For workers living in the Empire State, this kind of story is far too common.

According to a 2014 U.S. Department of Labor report, workers in New York are cheated out of anywhere between $500 million and $1 billion in wages a year.

Another study — conducted by the National Center for Law and Economic Justice in 2015 — found that even when workers prevail in wage theft cases, more than $126 million due to them in New York State has not been paid out.

The study found there was $25 million in unpaid cash stemming from civil lawsuits throughout the state and $101 million in outstanding debt that the state Labor Department determined employers owed their workers, but that it was unable to collect.

In 2019 alone, people filed about 5,800 lawsuits in New York federal courts involving the Fair Labor Standards Act, which covers minimum and overtime wage claims, as well as workplace retaliation.

But even when workers win those cases, they often have to struggle to track down the money they’re owed from companies, which in many cases shut down in order to hide assets.

“There are employers who employ wage theft to set up a competitive advantage,” said Richard Blum, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society. “Hiding it comes in the form of shifting assets.”

To remedy that, advocates like Blum and Sarah Ahn, director of the Flushing Workers Center, are pushing for the enactment of the SWEAT Act, which would give workers an alternative to filing lawsuits.

“It would give workers the ability to walk into their county clerk’s office and apply a lien,” Ahn said.

 

U.S. Government shutdown now the longest in history

 

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The US government shutdown has become the longest closure in the country’s history, entering its 22nd day on Saturday.

The previous record for the longest shutdown occurred during Bill Clinton’s presidency, which lasted 21 days from 15 December 1995 until 6 January 1996.

The current shutdown appears destined to last a few more days, at the very least, after Democrats rejected Donald Trump’s demands to include $5.7 billion for a southern border wall in a spending bill.

Mr Trump has threatened to declare a national emergency to fund his wall with Mexico without congressional approval, but said that he is “not going to do it so fast” because he would still prefer to work a deal with lawmakers.

The partial shutdown has put 380,000 federal workers on leave and forced an additional 420,000 to work without pay. On Friday the House and Senate voted to give federal workers back pay when the government reopens.

Nine of the 15 cabinet-level departments have not been funded. The Defence Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the government’s largest agencies, are the most notable exceptions.

Although many federal employees do not know when they will see their next paycheck, the Trump administration has some leeway to choose which services to freeze and which to maintain during the standoff.

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Some experts have noted choices which seem targeted at shielding Republican-leaning voters.

The administration has emphasized continued use of public lands, and particularly for hunters and oil and gas developers, angering environmental groups. And the IRS will continue to issue tax refunds during the shutdown.

Russell T. Vought, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), said the overarching message from Mr Trump has been “to make this shutdown as painless as possible, consistent with the law.”

“We have built on past efforts within this administration not to have the shutdown be used to be weaponized against the American people,” he said.

Others say such a strategy suggests a lack of urgency and a willingness to let the political impasse in Washington drag on indefinitely.

“The strategy seems to be to keep the shutdown in place, not worry about the effect on employees and furloughed people and contractors, but where the public might be annoyed, give a little,” said Alice Rivlin, who led the OMB during the 21-day shutdown in 1996.

“We weren’t trying to make it better. We were trying to emphasize the pain so it would be over,” said Ms Rivlin. “We wanted it to end. I’m not convinced the Trump administration does.”

How to be the Best Boss (2)

 

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Incorporate more autonomy and fluidity into every role

People often believe that providing job control is possible only for some jobs, and for some people. But that is not the case—all people can be given more decision-making discretion in their jobs and latitude to control their work.

San Francisco–based Collective Health designed the jobs of its “patient advocates”—who answer the phones to resolve customer issues that aren’t readily solved—with a simple goal in mind: create a more empowered, highly skilled call-center staff, drawing graduates from top universities. As Andrew Halpert, senior director of clinical and network solutions, explains, “The typical profile is someone who majored in human biology and maybe wants to pursue a medical career, but meanwhile wants a job and to work for an interesting start-up. Then you say, ‘How are you going to keep smart people engaged and happy and not burnt out and dissatisfied?’”

Collective Health trains its hires thoroughly on key technical tools, while regularly rotating their physical locations and assigned tasks: one week they may be coordinating benefit issues, and the next solving larger issues outside their department, giving them an overall picture of how everything works. They are continually empowered to solve problems on the floor as they discover them, connecting with other teams in the company. The system has not only increased employee retention by providing people with more interesting and impactful work, it has also proven more efficient at resolving problems. Halpert says the benefits outweigh the extra costs for the company and the customer: “On the ‘how much did I pay?’ criterion, it looks more expensive. . . . The Collective Health call costs more because it’s being handled by someone who is better qualified and better paid who is also spending more time resolving the issue. But we solve problems, unlike other systems where claims and problems just go on with a life of their own.”

The Collective Health experience shows how roles can be designed both to improve people’s health and increase effectiveness for the benefit of employers—in fact, the two can be mutually reinforcing. Jobs that provide individuals more autonomy and control serve to increase their motivation, job satisfaction, and performance—while at the same time making employees healthier and helping them to live longer.

Social support

If job control is one important aspect of a healthy workplace, social support is another. Research going back to the 1970s consistently demonstrates a connection between social support and health. Having friends protects “your health as much as quitting smoking and a great deal more than exercising,” even though survey evidence suggests that the “number of Americans who say they have no close friends has roughly tripled in recent decades.”

The evidence shows that social support—family and friends you can count on, as well as close relationships—can have a direct effect on health and buffers the effects of various psycho-social stresses, including workplace stress, that can compromise health. For instance, one review noted that “people who were less socially integrated” and “people with low levels of social support” had higher mortality rates.

Unfortunately, workplaces sometimes have characteristics that make it harder to build relationships and provide support. Consider, for example, practices that foster internal competition such as forced curve ranking, which reduces collaboration and teamwork. In fact, anything that pits people against one another weakens social ties among employees and reduces the social support that produces healthier workplaces. Equally destructive are transactional workplace approaches in which people are seen as factors of production and where the emphasis is on trading money for work, without much emotional connection between people and their place of work.

Rooting out practices like these is a good starting point for leaders seeking to build environments with stronger social support. Also invaluable are actions such as the ones described below. These sound straightforward and are already practiced by a number of companies, but nonetheless are easy to overlook.

Demonstrate commitment to offering help

SAS Institute, often found near the top of “best places to work” lists, is a company whose business strategy is premised on long-term relationships with its customers—and its employees. The company signals in ways large and small that it cares about its employees’ well-being. For instance, when a SAS employee died in a boating accident one weekend, a question arose: What would happen to his children, currently enrolled in company-subsidized day care? How long would they be permitted to stay? The answer: as long as they wanted to and were age-eligible, regardless of the fact that they no longer had a parent employed by the company. And perhaps nothing signifies SAS’s commitment to its employees’ well-being more than its investment in a chief health officer whose job entails not just running the on-site health facility but ensuring that SAS employees can access the medical care they need to remain healthy and to be fully cared for if they get sick.

Encourage people to care for one another

The large healthcare and dialysis company DaVita created the DaVita Village Network to give employees the opportunity, through optional payroll contributions, to help each other during times of crisis—such as a natural disaster, an accident, or an illness. The company provides funding to match employee contributions of up to $250,000 per year. When southwest Florida was hit by a series of hurricanes in 2004, a dialysis administrator noted, “The DaVita Village Network provided our housing while our homes were uninhabitable, and provided funding for food until we were able to get back on our feet.”

Fix the language

People are more likely to like and help others with whom they share some sort of unit relationship, to whom they feel similar, and with whom they feel connected. Language in the workplace that emphasizes divisions between leadership and employees can further alienate people and erode any sense of shared community or identity. Ensure that people are less separated by title, and use language that is consistent with the idea of community. DaVita sometimes refers to itself as a “village.” The company’s CEO often calls himself the “mayor.” Employees are constantly referred to as “teammates” and certainly never as “workers,” a term that denotes both a somewhat lower status and also people who are distinct from the “managers” and “leaders.”

Support shared connections

Almost anything that brings people into contact in a pleasant and meaningful context—from holidays to community service to events that celebrate employee tenure or shared successes such as product launches—helps build a sense of common identity and strengthens social bonds. Southwest Airlines is famous for its Halloween parties. Other organizations offer their employees volunteer opportunities to help local nonprofits. A 2013 UnitedHealth survey found that 81 percent of employees who volunteered through their workplace “agreed that volunteering together strengthens relationships among colleagues.”


Giving people more control over their work life and providing them with social support fosters higher levels of physical and mental health. A culture of social support also reinforces for employees that they are valued, and thus helps in a company’s efforts to attract and retain people. Job control, meanwhile, has a positive impact on individual performance and is one of the most important predictors of job satisfaction and work motivation, frequently ranking as more important even than pay. Management practices that strengthen job control and social support are often overlooked but relatively straightforward—and they provide a payoff to employees and employers alike.

Amazon calls on competitors to adopt its new minimum wage package

 

As part of the efforts aimed at improving employees’ welfare, Amazon made headlines this week with its $15 per hour minimum wage for U.S. workers only.

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Image shows Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO

Although Amazon’s new pay doubles the federal minimum wage of $7.25, the online giant was criticized for withdrawing bonuses, including stock, which were previously allocated to warehouse workers.

The company says it will end bonuses accruing to employees based on productivity level and attendance. These payments would have added a boost to the $15 minimum wage and $28,466 median pay per year.

Amazon announced that the new wages will go into effect by 1 November, adding that no seasonal, temporary, part-time or full-time staff in the United States will be omitted.

In response to critics who slammed Amazon for restricting its stock unit program, which allocates shares to workers once they spend a certain number of years, the company said a new program that will allow staff to buy stock is underway. No details were provided.

‘Compensation will be more immediate and predictable with the changes,’ Amazon.com Inc. says. Other benefits such as health insurance and 401(k) retirement accounts were not altered.

Amazon CEO and founder, Jeff Bezos, said on Tuesday that the improved welfare package is an outcome of public opinion polls aimed at enhancing productivity and sustaining profits.

His words: ‘We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead.’

The 54-year-old investor and tech entrepreneur continued, ‘We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.’

In addition to committing to higher minimum pay, according to Newsmax, Amazon says it will lobby policymakers in Washington D. C. to effect a higher federal minimum wage.

Mark Zuckerberg reveals a ‘Secret to Successful HR Management’

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Mark Zuckerberg admits that managing human and material resources could be a mountainous task, and it is unarguably so when there are over 30,000 employees, 1.47 billion active users, and investments worth billions of U.S. dollars to control.

However, Zuckerberg says there is a simple trick to Human Resource management: Hire people you would be glad to work for if the table is turned.

Despite huge setbacks from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, resignations from top management positions, and loss of active Facebook subscribers, the California-based firm remains one of the best companies to work for. But hiring new employees in such a highly competitive online social media and social networking service company would ordinary prove cumbersome. Yet, Zuckerberg insists on the easy and straightforward approach: Hire people you would be glad to work for if the table is turned.

Speaking to Kara Swisher, a Recode correspondent, Zuckerberg said it would be an honor to work for any of the top executives at Facebook, making reference to Sheryl Sandberg (Chief Operating Officer) and Chris Cox (Chief Product Officer), among others.

‘In the next world, I’d be honored to have these people as my employers,’ the CEO noted.

‘My advice to managers is this: they should hire people to join their team only if you would work for them.’

In Zuckerberg’s opinion, some invaluable attributes of good and successful managers are humility, selflessness, dedication, foresightedness and “the ability to conduct an unbiased analysis of a potential employee’s capabilities.” These qualities, he said, can distinguish companies as “achievers” and “failures”.

The 34-year-old billionaire continued on Reid Hoffman’s podcast titled Masters of Scale, ‘One big difference I see in any company’s possibility of achieving greatness, or being simply amazing,  depends on whether they’re comfortable and really self-confident enough to have people who are stronger than them in the fold.’

Zuckerberg insists that companies cannot achieve progress where managers feel like gods who should always command reverence from employees, adding that employers who do not envisage themselves on the other side of the divide are like a cog in the wheel of progress.

‘If the tables were turned and you were looking for a job, would you be comfortable working for this person?’ the famous CEO asked. ‘I basically think that if the answer to that is “no,” then you’re doing something expedient by hiring them, but you’re not doing as well as you can on that.’

Zuckerberg revealed that Sheryl is a “box of talents” but advised managers to learn from the “manager of managers”.

‘Her enormous strength and talents makes me feel better and makes Facebook better,’ he added. ‘I am not afraid or threatened by that. On the contrary, I value it as a blessing.’

How to cope with a ‘Bad Boss’

The workplace should be a “home away from home” to everyone, but there are many “unlucky employees” who find such settings a dreamland because they cannot just stop butting heads with their bosses, colleagues, and customers – even the peevish walls.

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Mary Abbajay, the management professional who wrote Managing Up: How to Move Up, Win at Work, and Succeed with Any Type of Boss, acknowledged that adapting to every manager’s style and personality could be an uphill task for most dedicated and productive workers. But when the workplace eventually turns toxic, making the decision to break up or buddy up morphs into a bigger challenge. Freaking awful.

Affected employees describe their bosses as “micromanagers,” “double-edged sword,” “rage-prone,” “d***head,” and “A-hole.” Sound familiar? Been there, done that.

If you are still working with toxic managers and colleagues, DON’T YOU WORRY. There is a silver lining up there in the clouds.

Finding strength in your challenges rather than giving excuses for quitting on yourself is what distinguishes winners from losers. Stop blaming people for a seeming weakness that you have powers to maximize for good.

Abbajay explained that working with an abusive boss motivated her decision to quit and start a business, not to make profits, but to create a healthy work environment where people learn how to lead by example.

‘I swore never to oppress and exploit people the way he did,’ Abbajay wrote.

As a co-founder and president Careerstone Group, a Washington-based coaching and leadership development firm, she has regularly provided inspiring answers to questions on “bosses from hell, workaholics, narcissists etc.”

Speaking on “toxic bosses” and “ghost managers,” Abbajay noted that although one must be a good follower to achieve success at the workplace, most committed professionals with big dreams often succumb to the crushing attitude of a higher-up who can be venomous, uncompromising, indecisive, and annoying.

The management professional advised employees not to ‘believe that every leader is worth following.’

Her words: ‘If you work with a boss who is so insensitive to the point that your self-worth begins to fall apart…if you are overwhelmed, afraid or often shed tears in secret places for the torturous relationships at your workplace, your one and only option is run from that person immediately.’

In her quest to distinguish between good and bad bosses, and help aggrieved workers decide when the time is ripe to bail their workplaces, Abbajay developed a questionnaire with 20 questions.

She continued, ‘Where, for example, your boss feels at ease tearing you down in front of other people, it is time to leave.

‘Do you work with a boss who regularly flies into screaming temper tantrums or demands absolute loyalty but will not hesitate to throw you under the bus at the first opportunity?

‘If your answer is yes,’ Abbajay added, ‘get the hell out. Now!’

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It is understandable that some bosses behave the way they do out of desperation for success. They are humans, just ordinary and flawed humans and, sometimes, impulsive sociopaths who clearly lack knowledge of human resource management basics.

On why people find it difficult to nurture cordial relationships with their boss, Abbajay pointed out that in many organizations, workers get promotions based on their technical skills –  not their management capabilities.

‘For this reason, mediocre managers are replete in workplaces,’ she said, however advising that the best advice is to stop complaining and start planning for a better future away from that less-than-ideal situation.

‘Graduates of the 21st century are yet to understand this,’ the self-motivated entrepreneur lamented. ‘I have seen peoples’ ego get in their way as they resist change because they want to be right, appreciated, understood or loved…This is a waste of valuable time and energy because a toxic boss hardly changes but we have the power to change how we are treated.’

Abbajay noted that employees either drain or energize a boss, however adding that flexibility provides a lifeline for those who wish to avoid a catastrophic staff-boss relationship.

Her best advice: ‘At the start of your new job, one important thing to do is: engage your boss in a conversation and ask three questions on his or her priorities, the method/frequency of reporting, and his or her “privacy concerns.’”

‘Knowing these tips, instead of making assumptions, are the only ways to enjoy even the worst managers from day one,’ Abbajay added.

Where these efforts fail to provide the desired relationship, leave your bad boss behind, dust off the sand from your shoes and move on.

Chinese Manager motivates Staff by letting them tear cash

Employee motivation and interpersonal relationships among workers and employers in China is no joke, and one exemplary manager’s most effective idea of encouraging his workers, is by asking them to tear bundles of banknotes.

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If only this exercise is permitted in private and not as a group, it’d definitely inspire the unmotivated.

Desperate employers in China have tried different strategies aimed at getting the best out of their employees.

In 2016, a car sales manager punished his employee for poor sales; he asked them to crawl on the street as a warning.

Although most netizens criticized the action, calling it “morally wrong,” the worse of such extreme managerial theory came when another employer decided to punish his staff by spanking their buttocks ‘in public.’.

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Most manager’s in the country are described as extremists — they either give excessive rewards or mete out punishment in a demoralizing manner.

The most recent episode of such punishments came from an electrical appliances store owner in Jinan, Shandong province, who tried motivating her ‘under-performing’ employees by asking them to tear 100-yuan banknotes.

In the 3-minute video clip released by the South China Morning Post, a female manager named Liu reportedly lined up her employees who failed to meet their daily sales quota of 100 deals.

A total of five young men were seen with heads bowed as she gave them a “pep talk” for about two minutes. Then she ordered them to take out their monies.

“Tear up the notes!” Ms Liu screamed after scolding the ‘sinners.’ “Tear them all. Take them all out and tear them!”

The men did as they were instructed before disposing the pieces of money.

A report from China Economic Net says the manager was warned of the possible consequences of tearing bank notes but she showed total disregard for the laws, saying: “Anyone who wants to question me can leave their jobs. Get out!”

Sohu News reported that the manager could have been fined up to 10,000 yuan under Chinese law.

How smart employees should handle errors at work

Being a leader is in itself a big challenge – a reason most people would rather follow than lead the way. One’s abilities are always proven through tests,  in a practical way, and this goes a long way in determining how successful a leader can be.

“A first-time leadership job is very stressful,” said Richard Wellins, senior vice president of HR consulting firm Development Dimensions International (DDI) and co-author of “Your First Leadership Job: How Catalyst Leaders Bring Out the Best in Others” (Wiley, 2015). “There’s a significant change in roles and responsibilities. Success comes not from what you do … but from what you do to grow and develop others.”

Leadership challenges vary by organization, but many of the most common have to do with motivating, encouraging, and effectively managing people.

Employers have worse problems than any worker can ever imagine. These challenges include: the pressure to rise to another level, the need to test yourself and improve in the process, and to show that you can accomplish something that may seem difficult or even impossible.

“It’s a difficult transition because your identity [among] your peers and colleagues changes,” Wellins said. “You have to shift and identify as a leader.”

 

However we choose to look at it, every employer battles three “demons” of factors which are: external, coming from people and situations; internal, stemming from within the leader himself; and those arising from the nature of the leadership role.

Diane Omdahl, president and co-founder of Medicare consultation firm 65 Incorporated, said that when she first stepped into a leadership position, she realized there were many opportunities for “teaching moments.” The challenge, however, is knowing how and when to teach others, especially if there’s a conflict that must be addressed.

“As a first-time leader, you’re in a position you’re unfamiliar with,” Omdahl told Business News Daily. “You might feel like you’re overstepping your boundaries when you have to confront a co-worker on an issue. But, just because you’re in a leadership position doesn’t mean you need to change your attitude or how you approach your work.”

“Employees feed off of that — leaders who lead by example cultivate the next generation of great leaders,” she said.

Mark Suster, a partner at Upfront Ventures who writes on bothsidesofthetable.com, wrote this about employers and ways of handling errors.

I was once involved with a company (not as an investor) where an embarrassing mistake was made. One of the leaders took a sort of “heads will roll” approach. It’s not my company so I basically stayed out but tried to encourage him to think differently about the “punishment.” I didn’t stick around for the repercussions so I hope the process was balanced.

But it got me thinking about the topic of leadership and how to manage people through “light” and “heat.” (Think carrot & stick but I like my analogy better because we’re humans not animals.)

As a leader you need to have both heat and light in your arsenal. You cannot lead all people all of the time through light. In my experience some individuals are the over-achievers who are looking for stars on their foreheads and thrive on constant positive feedback. For these people you need to lead through *mostly* light. There are other types of people (let’s say, prone to a bit of laziness or procrastination) who tend to be motivated more by fear of being in “trouble” and not wanting to look bad. These people are led better through a bit of heat.

I know the populist answer is to lead through only light. But as a father let me offer you this analogy. I spend a lot of the time with my kids trying to tell them things like, “if you want to be able to buy nice things in life you need to work hard” because I don’t want them to take all that they have for granted. I tend to praise their efforts as much as their results while still emphasizing the importance of actual results. I try to be a “light” daddy. Mostly.

But when they’re being naughty an “I’ll buy you ice cream if you’re good” approach doesn’t work and isn’t warranted. I much simpler, “if I have to come over there and separate you two, you’re going to lose your lego set for a week” yields better results. Not with a yell. Certainly never with violence. But with heat.

But that begs the question, What is “heat” and how do you apply it?

I always felt that the “disappointed dad” (or mom!) approach in business worked more effectively than yelling. It is crushing to somebody when they hear messages like, “I would have expected you to have planned better for this meeting. I put a lot of trust in you and I feel let down that you didn’t take this seriously enough to prepare.” And then followed with “listen, I don’t want to see this happen again. Let’s work on a plan to make sure it doesn’t. But to be clear, if I see this again I’m going to have to consider consequences.”

Facebook Fires Entire Trending Topic Team, Replaces Them With Computers.

Facebook’s trending sidebar will now be populated by an algorithm which will determine what people are talking about. While former employees in the section have been replaced by computers, a new team of engineers will take over duties to ensure topics that appear are newsworthy.

According to Quartz, the entire editorial team of 15-18 people contracted through a third party were let go on Friday and given an hour to vacate the premises.

In an announcement about the changes to Trending, Facebook emphasized that the move removes the need for human staffers to write small blurbs describing the topic displayed on the site.

The news follows reports back in May that the Trending section was subject to liberal partisanship, a claim CEO Mark Zuckerberg denied following an internal review that found “no political bias.” Shortly thereafter, the company announced a new set of rules and guidelines for the Trending team.

Image: File Photo

“There are still people involved in this process to ensure that the topics that appear in Trending remain high-quality — for example, confirming that a topic is tied to a current news event in the real world,” the company said.

“The topic #lunch is talked about during lunchtime every day around the world, but will not be a trending topic.

“Making these changes to the product allows our team to make fewer individual decisions about topics,” said Facebook in Friday’s announcement.

“Facebook is a platform for all ideas, and we’re committed to maintaining Trending as a way for people to access a breadth of ideas and commentary about a variety of topics”.

Cisco Systems to lay off about 14,000 employees: CRN

Cisco Systems Inc is laying off about 14,000 employees, representing nearly 20 percent of the network equipment maker’s global workforce, technology news site CRN reported, citing sources close to the company.

Image: File Photo

San Jose, California-based Cisco is expected to announce the cuts within the next few weeks, the report said, as the company transition from its hardware roots into a software-centric organization. (http://bit.ly/2bEQfa3)

Apart from Cisco, the other tech giants, which have announced job cuts in the face of PC industry decline in recent years, are Microsoft Corp , HP Inc and Intel Corp .

Microsoft Corp kicked off one of the largest layoffs in Tech history in July 2014 after it said it would slash 18,000 jobs. (http://reut.rs/2aYTYzt)

HP Inc said in September 2015 that it expected to cut about 33,300 jobs over three years.

Intel said in April that it would slash up to 12,000 jobs globally, or 11 percent of its workforce.

Cisco, which had more than 70,000 employees as of April 30, declined to comment, according to the report.

Cisco increasingly requires “different skill sets” for the “software-defined future” than it did in the past, as it pushes to capture a higher share of the addressable market and aims to boost its margins, the CRN report said citing a source familiar with the situation.

Cisco has been investing in new products such as data analytics software and cloud-based tools for data centers, to offset the impact of sluggish spending by telecom carriers and enterprises on its main business of making network switches and routers.

The company has already offered many early retirement package plans to Cisco’s employees, according to CRN.

Up until Tuesday’s close of US$31.12 on the Nasdaq, the company’s stock had risen about 15 percent this year, compared with a 10.5 percent increase in the Dow Jones U.S. Technology Hardware & Equipment index .

– Reuters

Egyptian Court sentences 2 Al-Jazeera employees to death

An Egyptian court on Saturday sentenced six people, including two Al-Jazeera employees, to death for allegedly passing documents related to national security to Qatar and the Doha-based TV network during the rule of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

APTOPIX Mideast Egypt

Image: Former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.

Morsi, the top defendant, and two of his aides were sentenced to 25 years in prison for membership in the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood group but were acquitted of espionage, a capital offense. Morsi and his secretary, Amin el-Sirafy, each received an additional 15-year sentence for leaking official documents. El-Sirafy’s daughter, Karima, was also sentenced to 15 years on the same charge.

Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected leader, was ousted by the military in July 2013 and has already been sentenced to death in another case. That death sentence and another two — life and 20 years in prison — are under appeal. The Brotherhood was banned and declared a terrorist organization after his ouster. Khalid Radwan, a producer at a Brotherhood-linked TV channel, received a 15-year prison sentence.

All of Saturday’s verdicts can be appealed. Of the case’s 11 defendants, seven, including Morsi, are in custody.

Amnesty International called for the death sentences to be immediately thrown out and for the “ludicrous charges against the journalists to be dropped.”

The two Al-Jazeera employees — identified by the judge as news producer Alaa Omar Mohammed and news editor Ibrahim Mohammed Hilal — were sentenced to death in absentia along with Asmaa al-Khateib, who worked for Rasd, a media network widely suspected of links to Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.

Al-Jazeera condemned the verdicts, saying they were part of a “ruthless” campaign against freedom of expression, and called on the international community to show solidarity with the journalists.

“This sentence is only one of many politicized sentences that target Al Jazeera and its employees,” the network’s acting director Mostefa Souag said in a statement. “They are illogical convictions and legally baseless. Al Jazeera strongly denounces targeting its journalists and stands by the other journalists who have also been sentenced.”

A news story that appeared earlier on the Al-Jazeera English website identified Hilal as a former director of news at Al-Jazeera’s Arabic channel and said Alaa Omar Mohammed was an Al-Jazeera employee until last year. The network’s statement confirmed Hilal’s status, but only said that Mohammed was “identified by the prosecution as an Al-Jazeera journalist.”

The three other defendants sentenced to death Saturday are documentary producer Ahmed Afify, EgyptAir cabin crew member Mohammed Keilany and academic Ahmed Ismail.

Judge Mohammed Shirin Fahmy recommended the death sentence for the six last month. Under standard procedure in cases of capital punishment, his recommendation went to the office of Egypt’s Grand Mufti, the nation’s top Muslim theological authority, for endorsement.

Fahmy quoted the Mufti’s office as saying the six had sought to harm the country when they passed to a foreign nation details of the army’s deployment as well as reports prepared by intelligence agencies.

“They are more dangerous than spies, because spies are usually foreigners, but these are, regrettably, Egyptians who betrayed the trust,” the judge said. “No ideology can ever justify the betrayal of one’s country.”

Egypt’s relations with Qatar have been fraught with tension since the ouster of Morsi, who enjoyed the support of the tiny but wealthy Gulf state. Cairo also maintains that Al-Jazeera’s news coverage of Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East is biased in favor of militant Islamic groups.

Last year, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi pardoned two imprisoned journalists from the Al-Jazeera English news network. Mohamed Fahmy, an Egyptian-born Canadian, and Egyptian Baher Mohamed were arrested in December 2013. They had been sentenced to three years in prison for airing what a court described as “false news” and coverage biased in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The prosecution of the two, along with Australian Peter Greste — another Al-Jazeera English reporter who was deported in February last year — drew strong international condemnation.

Egypt was ranked 158 out of 180 countries in the 2015 Press Freedom Index, according to Reporters Without Borders. In December, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Egypt was second only to China as the world’s worst jailer of journalists in 2015.

Angry workers attack employer’s SUV for delayed payment

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Angry workers are bound to retaliate when employers find it needless to pay wages on time. This form of disregards for employees’ welfare has proven costly to a heartless employer who failed to release workers’ salary as at when due.

The angry workers at a building site lost patience and took the laws into their own hands.  Continue reading “Angry workers attack employer’s SUV for delayed payment”