All Articles Tagged "employees"
Christmas Shopping Fails: Going Into “Upscale” Shops And Employees Making You Feel Like You Don’t Belong There
How fun is Christmas shopping!?
If you could see me right now, you would know that the sarcasm in my voice as I read this out loud is major. Christmas shopping is very difficult. If you’re not dealing with a big family to shop for but with less than baller funds, you’re buying gifts for people who never wear or use what you spent good money on. Successful Christmas shopping all depends on the reaction you get on the big day, and up until then, you can only sit back, wait, and wonder if what you bought will knock some socks off.
Seeing as how very underwhelming all that is, things can get ten times worse when you have an experience like I did early this morning. Feeling a bit inspired after a good night’s sleep to go out and shop on 5th Avenue, I got up, got dressed and tried to get in the holiday spirit. Being that it was still relatively early (I left the house at late 9 a.m.), I went out in clothes that I would later return home and go work out in. Some yoga tights with combat boots, a long tunic-like shirt, my long utility coat, (which covered my tight-adorned booty), and a long colorful scarf. Did I look like something out of the pages of Vogue? Uh, no, but I didn’t know you had to be all Style to Steal just to Christmas shop with thousands of other people. Indifferent, I headed to a very popular jewelry and accessories shop on 5th Avenue, jamming with my Beats by Dr. Dre headphones on. When I entered the store, it was gorgeous! A huge Christmas tree covered in gold tinsel, clutches and bracelets in candy colors–it was enchanting at first glance. I pulled my headphones down around my neck and proceeded to shop around, half browsing, but half keeping an eye out for the pieces I was interesting in picking up for my mother that I had seen online.
As I walked over to a tall section of bold bracelets, I stared hard, looked them over, touched them a little bit. To the right of me were two employees, chatting it up and laughing about whatever. When I looked their way to see if they were even going to greet me, they looked at me kind of weird, and then looked back at each other and kept talking. I didn’t let that that bother me, but as I moved around the store, I noticed many other employees treated me in a similar manner, and I wasn’t appreciating it…
As I went to another room, I looked at fly bracelets with bright Swarovski crystals. When I picked one of them up to make sure it would be long enough or big enough for my mom’s wrist, that’s finally when someone finally walked over and asked me if everything was all right: “Oh yeah, I was just wondering, if this is too short for a person’s wrist, can an extra link or two be added?” She quickly said no, but that I could return it. I smiled thinking that she, out of all these lazy employees, would finally offer me some steady help, starting by asking me the million dollar question: “So, what is it exactly that you’re looking for?” But she walked away quickly and proceeded to get on the phone behind the register for someone else.
Another employee, a young man, was working in that room, and I felt him watching me, but definitely not helping me. When I looked up to ask him a question, he walked away and talked with other customers. With my Beats headphones on, my locs and my colorful, dare I say, tackalicious outfit, I thought that maybe I looked like a broke a** teenager to the employees and felt a little embarrassed. While I didn’t try and adjust my ensemble, I put the headphones away and kept shopping. However, I couldn’t help but feel like the lack of help and attention (positive that is) I was receiving was a way for someone to let me know I didn’t really belong in the place. I became pretty uncomfortable with the whole scenario, so I decided to scoop up the gifts I knew my mom and my boyfriend’s little sister would like, and hurried to get the hell out of there. And guess who was more than ready to help me out at the register? The same guy who avoided me the whole time I was there, this time very giddy: “Were you ready to checkout!?”
As I stepped up to the register and pulled out my fancy wallet, the guy was finally looking at me, a smile on his face. When he asked me was I helped in picking up the bracelet and other items, I thought for a sec–did that girl REALLY help me?–and I confidently said “No.” He said nothing, and I wasn’t surprised. I could feel that the girl who answered my question earlier was staring at me from the other register, and I didn’t care. With all the energy she put into everyone else, I knew she really didn’t think she did a damn thing for me now did she?
I get it. I used to be a sales assistant trying to survive in different retail stores during the holidays. It can be terrible, and it can be VERY terrible when you put a lot of attention on a needy customer who walks out empty handed. However, it’s part of your job, so you should do it, not pick and choose who looks like they’re worth the time and energy. I didn’t have a million and one questions for these people, and in all honesty, as you read, I could move my way around and figure out most things on my own. Yet and still, it’s the principle of it all. Don’t go through hell and high water for the older white woman who later tells you they’re going to change their mind on a product, and ignore me, a paying customer, because I don’t look like a soccer mom or a city girl with a very big disposable income. You can’t judge what’s in my wallet based on what I look like or how eclectic my attire is, and you shouldn’t try to. While I’m sure the recipients of the gifts I bought at this boutique will definitely appreciate them, I didn’t appreciate my experience in the store, and I definitely won’t be back.
Have you dealt with a lack of customer service like this while shopping? Have people made you uncomfortable in their place of business?
I don’t know if you’ve checked the unemployment rate lately but as of September, the US was sitting at 7.8%. However looking at some people’s work ethic these days, you’d think we are still in the midst of the Clinton glory days because to put it mildly, good help is hard to find.
I shouldn’t even say help because unless you’re volunteering no one who is receiving compensation for their services is helping anyone. They are being paid to do a job and unless that job is done to the satisfaction of the one compensating for it, then said employee has not in fact done their job. You would think that would be a simple enough concept to grasp, but for some reason people tend to think it’s their employer’s job to work for them rather than the other way around.
Chatting it up with a few editors from time to time, I’m always amazed at the mindset of the freelance writers they work with. From weekend editors who are upset that work interferes with their weekend (did you catch the irony?), to sporadic contributors who don’t appreciate the lack of creative control they have, to writers who don’t understand why they should have to pitch anything or turn in assignments on a certain date, everyone seems to forget that as a freelance writer you are your own boss in a sense, but you still work for someone else. That means you have to play by their rules – if you want to keep receiving a paycheck of course.
But this isn’t just a freelance situation either, even full-time, 401K-having, name on payroll status employees think they’re untouchable. At a previous job there was a man everyone was convinced must have had dirt on everybody in management because he literally did everything but work – at work. When I say everything I mean play his guitar at his desk (and just so you know I wasn’t working at a recording studio this was publishing office). He went on daily hour-long runs and walked from his desk to the bathroom in nothing put a white undershirt, running shorts, and knee socks to change clothes. He clipped his finger- and toenails on a weekly basis causing us to constantly ask how many fingers and toes does he have; and on top of it all he was noticeably intoxicated on a daily basis. Everything about him screamed “fire me” yet there he remained on a daily basis just as comfy as he could be while millions of Americans sat discouraged behind computer screens wishing they could be in his position.
I’m not naïve to the fact that some people genuinely hate their jobs and have no desire to impress the higher-ups or even move up the corporate ladder. That I don’t mind. There’s a lot of pressure that comes with power and being burnt out from being overworked and underpaid or simply being comfortable in your mid-level position is your prerogative. What I do have a problem with, though, is people who expect so much from their employer – time-off considerations, raises, promotions, flexibility to handle certain projects or responsibilities with less oversight – without doing what they’re supposed to do in the first place, i.e. their job.
When I was freelancing, I was probably one of the thirstiest writers around for those six months. Without a set paycheck I knew the only thing that could guarantee money to pay my bills was my being available for assignments and doing them well when they were given to me. I was in grind mode and my number one priority was to fulfill the expectations that my editors bestowed on me and make their lives easier, not argue that things should be done my way. After all, if they had to fix my work or do it for me, what did they need me for? Unfortunately, the attitude from so many employees, permanent or not, seems to be that they are irreplaceable and should be treated as such. Again I’ll ask the question in the title of this article, have you seen the unemployment rate?
Ratchet as it may be, for some reason Mase’s line in “Been Around the World” keeps coming to mind when I think about this lazy entitlement conundrum: “Now trick what? Lace who? That ain’t what Mase do. Got a lot of girls that’d love to replace you.” A more appropriate lyric might be Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable” line, “Don’t you ever for a second get to thinking you’re irreplaceable,” but you catch my drift.
There are too many people crying in the unemployment line and dying for a chance to impress someone on the job for there to be so many obvious and frequent instances of people simply taking their employment for granted. I blame HR bureaucracy for some of the foolishness because it really shouldn’t take nearly as long as it does to hire the right person and fire the wrong one but rest assured just like what’s done in the dark always comes to the light, just because some people are skating under the radar now doesn’t mean that will always be the case. Eventually unemployment will catch up to these folks who clearly don’t really want to work – or worst come to worst their coworkers will take ‘em out. :)
*Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Regardless of your industry, it is no longer a question of “if” your small business should have a social media presence, but “how” those platforms should be used. According to the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 85 percent of businesses that have a dedicated social media platform reported an increase in their market exposure, and 58 percent reported an increase in sales.
Your social media accounts can do much more than serve as an outpost for your website. Social media is a great way to establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry. It also can be used to build a community of evangelists, involve your customers in your creative process, and reach new audiences.
The key to a dynamic social media presence is good content. Satisfying Internet users’ insatiable appetite for content can seem daunting. But, most brands are sitting on a gold mine of stories to share without realizing it. Here are a few ways to find those stories:
1. Get employees involved.
The people who make your business work are the best resources for content. Social media should be a part of everyone’s job description. Ask employees to create guest posts, or ask for regular updates on clients, corporate culture, and other under the radar developments that you can share online. Making employees visible online humanizes your brand, and they offer a unique perspective that is compelling to readers.
2. Offer behind-the-scenes access.
Everyone likes to feel like they have access to something exclusive or rarely seen. Give your fans and followers that feeling of privilege by offering something extra that they wouldn’t be able to find on your blog or website. Share slides from presentations, videos from events, or a sneak peek at a new product or service.
3. Set a Google Alert on keywords that impact your business.
Narcissism isn’t attractive in person or online. Don’t just talk about yourself, talk about what’s happening in your industry. A reputation for sharing important content will make you a thought leader in your field. Google Alerts and RSS feed subscriptions are especially helpful if you don’t have enough time to produce original content of your own. Direct your followers to good content that’s already out there.
4. Spotlight your customers.
Share the spotlight with the people who use your products or services. It will not only showcase your success but also give exposure to your customers, something they will appreciate. Promote your clients when they do something noteworthy, and they will do the same for you.
5. Build a community.
Social media is not a one-way channel of communication. Posting content without engaging audiences may work for some large brands, but small businesses need to make friends online. New friends can quickly become new customers. Customers don’t want to be advertised to, they want to be engaged. Ask questions and get feedback on the work you’re doing. Contests and promotions are also a great way to keep fans and followers excited and coming back for more.
Has your small business found success leveraging social media? Share some of your favorite tactics in the comment section.
A new study that brought together economic minds from Stanford and the University of Utah found that there are good bosses out there who are both working and teaching.
By bosses, the researchers are talking about supervisors, managers, and mid-level execs… the people who are parodied in movies like Office Space and on shows like The Office. Mimicking the work environment of something akin to a customer service call center, they studied nearly 24,000 workers and almost 2,000 managers. In that situation, productivity varied depending on who was in charge.
“The fact [that] there is wide variation…implies that there is a substantial productivity effect that bosses confer on their teams,” the researchers found. Closer analysis indicated to them that sustained high levels of work output were the result of lessons taught by these managers.
The sheer number of stories about the qualities found in great managers, offering tips for being a good manager, and giving advice about things to avoid so one doesn’t become a bad manager shows that this is top-of-mind for employees around the country. The interaction between supervisors and their staff members is intimate and fraught with the issues that come when strangers are brought together with a common goal (do the work) and one person is calling the shots.
While the research shows that there are good managers out there who are teaching and working well with their staff, the fact that there is variation also shows that some supervisors are better than others. There are a few things that employees can do to maintain positive relationships with their bosses:
-Manage your boss’ expectations. Tell them how long a project will take. Explain all the things you’re working on. Let them know of any changes or shifts that will impact how you do your job. Talking things over with your boss (or putting those issues in an email that can be forwarded to others if necessary) will help them understand what steps they have to take.
-Accept that things won’t always be great. When you’re working hard, you want things to go smoothly. But sometimes, despite your best efforts, you have to work through lunch, stay late, or someone makes a mistake. Take those instances in stride. When you prove that you can handle the bumps in the road, it’s a plus for you, your manager, and your department.
-Bring your sense of humor. Sometimes, the best employee is the one with the best attitude. It helps to build a rapport with a manager (even, in some cases, a prickly one) and it’s good for your own psyche.
Some supervisors are just terrible. But most people want to do a good job. Working well with your supervisor will put you on the fast track to take their job when they move on to the next position.
Erika Zeigler, senior producer at Music Choice, provides the insight. She started as an intern with the company and, after eight years, has worked her way up the ranks. Among her advice, “Thou shall not have your power cake and eat it too,” cautioning against being friends with those that you’ll now have to manage. “In the office, be sure to reiterate to friends that you won’t be mixing business with personal,” the article says.
Also, don’t be a know-it-all.
“Just because you’ve been at a company a long time doesn’t mean you know everything about being a manager,” Zeigler reminds us.
For more managerial advice, click over to BlackEnterprise.com.
Congratulations! You got that promotion and now you’re the manager. Say hello to the person in charge (at least of a few things). Exactly where you deserve to be. But now that you’ve got the job, you have to do it well.
Even if you have the job-related skills to fill the position, being a manager requires a set of people skills and leadership prowess that you may need to fine tune. We’ve got five tips to make you a great manager; someone respected by the staff and the execs that you answer to.
Tip #1: Delegate. It’s hard to let others do the work because you’re so good at it, right? You’ve made it this far because you know how to do the job well, but part of being a good manager is managing others. More hands and minds at work means more work gets done with efficiency. Teach staffers how to avoid mistakes. Show them the tricks of the trade. Be a mentor and you’ll be rewarded with a department that runs like a well-oiled machine. Your next promotion could be right around the corner.
But! Don’t be one of those managers that delegates to death. Your role might be different, but you still have work to do too.
Oh, the joys of the co-worker happy hour. It’s a good way to get to know other peers around the office in a relaxed environment that doesn’t involve beating each other to the coffee machine in the morning, exchanging emails and jumping from conference call to conference call without a moment in between.
Even though the office happy hour is an effective, informal way to be at-peace with the people you see every day, it has its limitations and “unwritten” rules. Always be mindful that even though your co-workers are nice and you should be comfortable around them, they are still connected to you FIRST on a professional level, so take heed to your behavior in relaxed surroundings, especially ones that involve alcohol and dim lighting!
As you get prepared for that next happy hour gathering with your fellow employees, keep in mind these important tips to make sure you leave behind a good impression and not a sloppy one.
Right as reports were swirling that Jay Z and Beyonce spent more than $1 million to buy out part of Lenox Hospital to give birth, and literally a day before Blue Ivy was born, the Jigga man’s company, Rocawear, laid off half of its staff.
“Economic reasons” were cited as the cause for letting go of 28 of the company’s 56 employees Jan. 6, according to the New York State Department of Labor. Could it be the investment in the flopped “Occupy All Streets” t-shirts they planned to sell for $22 a piece to remind people that “there is change to be made everywhere, not just on Wall Street,” dealt more than a blow to the company’s reputation? Critics were less than enthused when they found out Jay Z intended to keep 100 percent of the profits rather than donate them to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Ironically, the mogul who claimed to be down for the 99% ended up adding to their numbers in the end.
What do you think about this news in lieu of all Jay Z has spent on gifts, security, and preparations for Blue Ivy? Should his personal life be kept separate from his professional, or does this reflect poorly on him?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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(Wall Street Journal) — There are many things to consider when transitioning your business from a one-man-band into a “real” company, and employees are at the top of the ladder. Not only do you need to learn how to delegate effectively, but you also must ensure that you are bringing the right people on board in the first place. Hiring is no easy task. Sure, we’re in a buyer’s market that favors companies looking to hire; however, this abundant candidate pool doesn’t make the interview process any easier. If anything, it makes it more difficult. Here’s what I advise: Devise a systematic interview process to make sure that you maximize your time and probability of hiring the right person.
(Businessweek) — Rick Raymond parked his black Kia SUV behind a row of trees and peered out at his target. It was 4 a.m. on a recent morning, and Raymond—a seasoned private detective who has worked roughly 300 cases, from thieves to philandering spouses—was closing in on a different sort of prey. Recently, Raymond has come to occupy a new and expanding niche in the surveillance universe. Corporations pay him to spy on workers who take “sick days” when they may not, in fact, be sick. Such suspicion has led Raymond to bowling alleys, pro football games, weddings, and even funerals. On this morning it has taken him to a field outside the home of an Orlando repairman whose employer is doubtful about his slow recovery from a car accident. Although Raymond tries to be impartial about his subjects, “80 to 85 percent of the time,” he says, “there’s definitely fraud happening.”