For many working Americans, leaving the office in the early evening doesn’t necessarily mean your workday is done. Answering emails and phone calls can stretch one’s workday far past the standard five o’clock threshold. That is, unless you happen to be a consultant working in France. Under a new agreement between labor unions and corporate representatives, more than 250,000 French employees at consulting, computing and polling firms are required to “disconnect” from work once they clock out.

Under the Continue reading

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January 24, 2014

Over the past few decades farming towns across America have seen populations drop as more young people leave their rural homes behind in favor of big cities. However, urban living today doesn’t present as many opportunities as in the past. Not only do cities demand a higher cost of living, but also chances for career advancement can diminish given the large talent pool.

That’s the situation systems manager Wallace Harwood encountered at his job with an energy company in Lexington, Continue reading

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January 19, 2014

Although the American economy is slowly recovering, the job market is not. Low and minimum wage work has driven much of the recovery while mid-level jobs that disappeared during the recession have failed to rematerialize. Confronted with this bleak “new normal,” many people in both the private and public sectors have called for an increase to the federal minimum wage. Advocates for change point to cases like that of Anthony Goytia, who must supplement his salary as a Wal-Mart clerk Continue reading

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November 27, 2013

Recruiting capable and contented employees remains one of the biggest challenges facing businesses today. In fact, hiring represents a $400 billion global industry as companies the world over vet candidates on their education and experience. But according to a new generation of HR upstarts, the traditional methods used to evaluate potential hires are in desperate need of updating. After all, 70 percent of American workers claim they are dissatisfied in their jobs, and as recently as 2007, 3 million people Continue reading

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October 15, 2013

Wal-Mart became the world’s largest retailer by keeping margins low on everything, including employee compensation. For the Florida-based grocer Publix, however, keeping staff motivated through strong financial incentives is a recipe for success rather than instability. Publix’s net margins of 5.6 percent trounce Wal-Mart’s 3.8 percent, making it the most profitable grocery chain in the nation. With $27.5 billion in sales, it’s also the largest employee-owned company in America. Staffers control 80 percent of the company thanks to a policy Continue reading

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October 11, 2013

The hierarchical structure of modern corporate offices can be traced back to 19th century railroad companies. With vast networks of track stretched across the country, transportation magnates needed to designate clear lines of communication among their far-flung operations. A system of middle managers and regional executives eventually rose to prominence and ensured that things ran smoothly. Over the course of the 20th century, businesses of all stripes adopted this top-down structure as their own, eventually leading to the Continue reading

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September 9, 2013

The stagnant economy has been tough on many Americans, but none more so than our nation’s veterans. Far too many military men and women come back home from overseas only to find a place almost as inhospitable and unwelcoming as the one they left. On top of a dire job market, many have problems receiving benefits from Veterans Affairs. Thousands of others struggle to come to grips with their post-traumatic stress, sometimes leading to tragedy.

Iraq vet Ian Smith nearly Continue reading

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July 12, 2013

 

First days on the job tend to be stressful. Not only must fresh hires learn the names of a litany of new colleagues, they may also be required to endure often boring orientation sessions. In corporate environments especially, these standardized introductory rituals teach new hires to tone down their own personalities in order to conform to the company’s way of doing things. While this is likely an efficient way to acclimate employees to the job, new studies show that Continue reading

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April 3, 2013

 

In the eyes of many Occupy Wall Street sympathizers, the people who run America’s biggest companies are untouchably wealthy power brokers. However, this viewpoint fails to take into account the startling effect that the recession had on job security across the spectrum. One need not look further than the fate of former Groupon CEO Andrew Mason. After a string of failures, the board elected to part ways with the company’s founder. In his farewell statement to staff, Mason cheekily Continue reading

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March 15, 2013

By now, the perks available to employees at Silicon Valley’s hottest startups and established tech giants are the stuff of legend. Google staffers can enjoy their breaks either by eating a free gourmet lunch in the commissary or by receiving a relaxing massage from one of the company’s in-house masseurs. YouTube employees can walk down the stairs to their next meeting or they could take a ride on the story-high slide instead. And if a Twitter programmer doesn’t want to Continue reading

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