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 5, 2013

swissWhen the credit crisis hit in 2008, much of the public’s ire fell on the Wall Street executives who earned enormous salaries as the financial system crumbled. Legislators and activists demanded that the country’s corporations revert to more reasonable pay packages, especially those companies who received government bailouts. Nearly five years later, however, little has been done to curb outsized executive compensation. Well, at least in the U.S.

Switzerland, on the other hand, recently voted for legislation that aims to 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 20, 2013

yarnAs long as there are offices, there will be conflicts between management and staff. Still, no business can hope to succeed without a successful working relationship between these two occasionally combative entities. Managers will always need motivated employees to work hard and achieve the company’s goals, and employees will always need managers to set those goals and pay them for their efforts to meet them. Indeed, this seeming imbalance of power is why some staffers inevitably come to resent their 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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March 5, 2013

With economic recovery proceeding at a sluggish pace, many companies are operating on razor thin margins that can be easily disrupted. For instance, business got so slow at the plastics company Saint-Gobain last fall that executives cut worker hours by 40 percent. Although this type of story has become all too common since 2008, a federal government-funded work share program ensured the company’s staff didn’t lose their entire income. Thanks to the additional funds, Saint-Gobain’s employees recouped 70 percent of Continue reading

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March 1, 2013

The revival of American manufacturing is often cited as a clear indicator of the economy’s slow but sure recovery. After all, manufacturers added half a million new jobs since 2009, marking one of the few positives in this relatively sluggish upturn. But that statistic doesn’t tell the whole story: none of the workers who landed those manufacturing jobs are in a union. In fact, the number of union factory workers dropped by four percent from 2010 to 2012, just as Continue reading

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