Eating on the Toilet: The Growing Leniency of Dating in the Workplace

For anyone who works anywhere, we all know that pursuing a romantic (or casually promiscuous) relationship within the same work space is usually highly discouraged and in most cases prohibited in company policy.  However it doesn’t help that we spend most of our days and waking hours around the same coworkers.  Human nature somehow permeates and we do what we do best: get busy.

Although this practice has always been frowned upon on multiple levels, there seems to be a recent shift in attitudes, in a more shameless direction

I began working at a call center for IT support, and I cannot say for whom.  Regardless, this place was like many other call centers, messy with its corporate organization and interpersonal relationships.  The ages ranged from 18-65, but many of my peers were my peers, around my age with a margin of 5 years.

Corporate romances pose many threats:

  • Employees are distracted and less productive
  • Sexual Harassment charges are likely to increase
  • Company favoritism (real and perceptual) has room to breed

All of these were apparent at my job.  Every third person was involved with somebody at this company, and goodness was the gossip thick!

I had a coworker, who we’ll call Dory, who  was in a group with me on the first day of training orientation, just another new girl but a few years my junior.  As the months went by, she became a trainer herself.  I also assisted lightly with this new training group.  I witnessed her growing interest in a boy in her class, we’ll call him Mark, and once he graduated orientation they were always sitting next to each other.  They didn’t care to hide it.   Mark would flagrantly flirt with Dory and ask her about her plans for the night.

I approached Dory one day and asked her politely if they were actually dating, and she excitedly nodded her head and said, “Yeah!”

The words came out of my mouth before I could even think about stopping them.

“Why would you sh*t where you eat?”

She gave me the most dazed and confused look.  As if the question itself was incredibly asinine.  As if I should easily understand why she’s dating Mark so openly.  Dory didn’t answer, just shrugged me off like a teenager.

Just like many shifts happening in this time, the blame is placed on millennials.  But this isn’t another “cry millennials” case either.  Rather, there is statistical backing to it.

In 2012, The Huffington Post reported a survey on workers between the ages of 18-29.  84% of participants admitted they would have a romantic relationship with one of their coworkers.  Only 36% of GenX and 29% of Baby Boomers shared that sentiment.

In 2014, Forbes reported that 71% of people involved in corporate relationships don’t put much effort into hiding it.

So free thinking millennials are pushing boundaries once again.  Of course they may be engaging in relationships with older generations, which spreads the attitude shift across the board, slowly but surely.  They are actively making the case for this type of relationship as well.  We spend most of our time with our coworkers, in a work force where we predominately start off single, and a good 31% of workplace relationships end up at the alter.  Finding your spouse at the same place you find your check may not be the worst thing.

But is it really worth the corporate risks? The potential drama that can push through your home and work life?

For me, personally, no it is not.  But you can’t help who you fall for I suppose.

Also, does this shift in attitude have the potential to shift corporate policies in the future?

Well only time will tell…and it may be sooner than one assumes…with the growing support and engagement and all….

 

 

References:

http://brandongaille.com/19-unbelievable-workplace-romance-statistics/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/09/office-romances-on-the-rise-among-millennial-employees_n_1412190.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/peggydrexler/2014/04/07/the-truth-about-office-romance/#63d5d4a4413c

“Is It A Scam?” Probably. 10 Tips for Job Seekers.

Looking for a job takes sweat, tears, and tenacity.  We all know this.

In the midst of our hard work and a desperation to get hired at this very moment, there are many phony corporations who prey on just that.  Whether they are hidden pyramid schemes or phishing emails (emails hoping you’d provide important personal information), these companies are obviously something to avoid.

Scammers not only hinder your job search progress, but allowing them to hire you stagnates your skills and abilities.  Normally, there is essentially no real growth with these organizations, unless you pay your way up.   Ultimately, they have the potential to ruin your financial inventory and professional reputation.

So how can you tell if a potential job offering is a scam? Well there are many!  In my years of job hunting, I have dealt with a good amount of these companies trying to reach out to me, and it didn’t take long to pick up on the patterns.

I’m taking these observations from my own experience, as well as my closest friends’.

Tell-Tale Signs of a Scammer

1) The company name is extremely generic.

Some mess like “Better Management Inc.”

2) There are spelling errors or an extreme informality in their emailed approach to you.

’nuff said

3) If you’re on Craigslist or classifieds site: The posting only talks about benefits with barely any requirements and NO information about the company.

4) You have no idea how they got your information.

Just like if any other person walked up to you, talking about you, soliciting you, and you know you never met them in your life. You should probably run.

5) If you applied to one of these jobs and they call you in less than 24 hours. 

6) The company tries to schedule an in person interview with you AS SOON AS THEY POSSIBLY CAN.

Most legitimate places will try to schedule an in-person interview with you within 2 weeks of receiving your application(and of course, this could take much longer).  A scammer will literally ask you to come in today or tomorrow.  Again, they’re preying on your desperation.

7) Once the interview is scheduled, they tell you to bring your resume and dress professionally.

WHY WOULD A PROFESSIONAL TELL YOU TO COME TO AN INTERVIEW DRESSED WELL WITH YOUR RESUME?  This is one of the most understood practices of interviewing.  If a recruiter feels the need to tell you this prior to your interview, then it’s a scam.  They know that they are literally just calling anyone and trying to get them in, so they feel the need to put out that reminder for those who never had a professional job.

8) At the interview, they discuss salary and benefits before they even get 2 sentences deep into the job description.

They shouldn’t be discussing it AT ALL, but it is a super sure sign of a scam if it’s almost the first thing they bring up.

9) Under the guise of “marketing and advertising”, will ask you to join for a managerial position, even if you REALLY don’t qualify.

These people will put out job postings for a Marketing Manager or something similar, but the requirements would be that of a high school student.  Let’s get real, no one is asking you to manage something with ZERO experience right out the door.  They use these words to make everything sound too good for you to pass up.  Then you apply, and the company has you canvassing, cold calling, or setting up store demos asking people to “try this” when they would rather ignore you.

10) It requires you to spend money first. Such as buying a demo product.

Looks like you applied to a Scam already? It’s Cool.

You could do a few things.  In fact,Google can help you with most of it.

A lot of these companies have already been figured out, because the internet is great with connecting people with others based on shared experiences.  8/10, if you Google search a scammer, the first page of results will confirm your suspicions.

If Google doesn’t help and you’re still wary of a company, you can respond by paying attention to the signs above the way you see fit.  Many times,  if I see a good amount of tell-tale signs, I just won’t show up to the calling.

If I REALLY can’t get a handle on it, then I entertain the first interview.  There’s honestly no cost in that other than the gas to get there.

I hope this helps in your future job endeavors!  Protect your identity, and protect your wallet.

 

Brand Yourself: Correcting Your Online Presence

Everyone wants to have a good reputation online, but we often feel like that’s something out of our control.  Well good news, it’s not completely.

Go visit the website BrandYourself.com, sign up and search your name.  Many links will pop up and you may be surprised at what you’ll find.

You can rate each link as:

  • POSITIVE: Relevant to you specifically
  • NEUTRAL/NOT ME: Something that has nothing to do with you
  • NEGATIVE: Something damaging that is also relevant to you.

I even had an assignment from high school lurking around on Tumblr that still comes up when my name is searched.

This tool helps assign relevant links to you, while getting rid of ones that are irrelevant.

The point here is to improve your grade, or at least make sure the right links appear when your name is searched.

I did this with mine over this past semester at Grand Valley.  Here’s my before and after .

BEFORE

Before

AFTER

 

After

 

My score decreased because I was able to search through the links and identify a negative result to my reputation.

I enjoyed this exercise though.  I was able to view the scope of what others see when they search me, while catching a whiff of nostalgia in the process.  I highly recommend that everyone try this out.  Strengthen your web presence and  shoot for that A!

 

Group Projects Are Forever, But Don’t Fret.

People usually dread collaboration.  A lot of us don’t want to entrust our work and credibility to an individual we don’t necessarily like or know.  We don’t want to go through the struggles of uncooperative members, or conflicting schedules, or a flood of ideas, or any of the headaches that comes with working in a group.  If I had a choice to do any of the group projects in my entire educational career, I probably would have skipped 80% of them.

However, in reality we have to work with others everyday, and that’s not such a terrible thing.  Having the ability to work well in a group can yield results that would never have even been imagined when working alone.  Working with people increases your social skills, creates a supportive environment, and explores a broad range of perspectives just to name a few pros.

We were forced into group projects our whole lives as a preparatory action.  In order to make sure we would be good assets for the workplace, well any place, we need to be comfortable with working with a diverse group of people.

“Collaboration is essential for organizational change.”  This means that if you want to accomplish something grand, complex, and great, the it would  require the ideas, commitment, and brainpower of a great amount of people.

Sure, it could be done on your own, but it wouldn’t be efficient; it may be missing a component that you may have overlooked, or you might be lacking in a skill set needed for part of the project.  Strong organizations have strong leaders in different departments, because everyone has different skills and talents.  Leveraging everyone’s strengths ensures that each base is covered.  On a micro scale, the same can be said of group projects and collaborations.  A project has a much greater potential of being amazing when there is a team of different expertise behind it.

As we transition from job to job in our careers, we should keep in mind that people can be pretty interesting, and there’s always something a person could bring to the table.  Collaboration should be viewed as an opportunity to creative something fresh, rather than a hindrance.

 

 

References

Field, A. (2012, November 30). 6 Ways to Foster Collaboration in Your Workplace | OPEN Forum. Retrieved from https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/fostering-collaboration/

Gomen, C. K. (n.d.). 7 insights for collaboration in the workplace. Retrieved from http://www.reliableplant.com/Read/23929/7-insights-collaboration-workplace

Morgan, J. (2013, July 30). Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobmorgan/2013/07/30/the-12-habits-of-highly-collaborative-organizations/2/

Social Media is Revolutionary! But Eh.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram on a screen
Apps on a smartphone

Social media has definitely caused a revolution.  Think about it. Social media has found a way to connect everyone to anyone.  Conversations that stream from Tokyo to Detroit, or appreciation from a celebrity to a fan; countless forms of interactions that were impossible before are now feasible with the help of Social Media.

I think it’s an amazing way to connect with the world.  I have always been fully immersed in social media since the birth of it.  I’ve held many different accounts in general and niche websites:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Newgrounds
  • Tagged
  • Bebo
  • Crushspot
  • And many…many more

If you’ve seen the show Catfish (if you haven’t google it), that was pretty much me.

That’s right! I was an OG Catfish back in the day.

It was my form of entertainment in my junior high years.  If you’ve randomly chatted to a blonde 24-year old “Christine”, she was probably me.

I digress.  My point is I deal with social media much more than the normal person would like to admit to, and always have.  It’s nothing to be ashamed of though, because social media has evolved.  At first, it was seen as just a way to keep in contact with friends or meet new people.  However, there is much more to it than that. It is integrated into our educational, personal, and professional lives.

My homework includes tweeting and I get paid to run a Facebook page.  I literally couldn’t avoid social media if I wanted to.  And you probably can’t either.  That’s when you know something is revolutionary, it causes a change that you can’t just step aside from.

Another revolutionary concept that came from social media: virality, or the chance of a piece going viral.

The power of virality could be considered the biggest benefit and detriment of social media.  It all depends on the content.  A piece of content going viral could mean someone’s life being saved.  It could also have a result of pain and humiliation.  Think of the most embarrassing moment of your life.  Now think about how much it would suck it if were recorded and viewed 20,034,080 times….and counting.

The only thing that sucks worst than that is cyber bullying.  Social networks are a new form of communication, and with that comes harassment and negativity.  Cyber bullying can happen to anyone.  It’s incredibly easy to do these days when a person can hide their true identity behind a screen, and because of that the attacks can be more vicious.  Cyber bullying has taken many lives and proven that words can hurt a lot more than sticks and stones.

In the natural order of things there is a dark side of social media.  Terrible people get their hands on something and it doesn’t take long for it to be tainted.  Social media is unfortunately a fast and effective channel to spread hate, false information, and white collar crimes.

Putting together the pros and cons of social media, they equal a nice, big “eh” for me.  It’s interesting to study and analyze, but all in all it’s just another part of today’s world that is integrated into my life.

Sources:

Anderson, M. (2015, Oct 29). Technology Device Ownership: 2015. Retrieved Nov 11, 2015, from Pew Research Center: http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/10/29/technology-device-ownership-2015/

Downey, A. M. (2013). Perceptions of adolescent bullying: Attributions of blame and responsibility in cases of cyber-bullying. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 536-540.

Perrin, A. (2015, Oct 8). Social Media Usage 2005-2015. Retrieved Nov 11, 2015, from Pew Research Center: http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/10/08/social-networking-usage-2005-2015/