Weekly business rail, with tips on how to thrive at work, a BBB warning on teeth whiteners sold online and more.
Tip of the Week
With a wide-spread recession and high jobless rates, it would be no surprise to find that many employed Americans are in "survivor mode" - doing what they can to make the most of the jobs and resources they have at hand. So how do you push beyond survivor mentality and begin focusing your energies on a future where you will thrive at work? Eileen Habelow of Randstad has these tips:
- Ask questions. If your only source of information is coming from the chatter at the office water cooler, chances are you aren't getting the full story. Stay connected to what's going on at work by making a list of questions and scheduling time with your manager to discuss. While a manager may not be able to tell you everything, chances are he or she can provide timely, transparent information that can help maintain your workplace focus and fine-tune your personal goals.
- Increase your value. While others around you may be just happy to have a job, improving basic skills such as organization and time management can increase your productivity and show your manager that you have the capacity to take on a larger function within the office. Have years of experience under your belt? Consider mentoring a colleague. Demonstrating a hands-on, teamwork approach to helping your company achieve success can speak volumes about your value to your company.
- Be social: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are fast becoming part of today's business landscape. Get to know what they offer, how they work, who uses them and why. No longer are phone and e-mail enough. To thrive you must not only understand the new communication tools being used, but how to use them effectively within your role.
- Expand roles and responsibilities. Whether assigned by a leader or proactive in nature, by exposing yourself to new opportunities at work, you just might find that you have hidden talents that can be of added value to your company. Consider job-sharing a manager's role left vacant due to layoffs; volunteering for new business, recruiting and internal committees; or teaching a skills workshop to others in your office.
- Be innovative. The days of business as usual are gone. In today's workplace, employees are expected to contribute above and beyond their job description. Be accountable for change as well as improvement in your office by building creative skills, offering new ideas and implementing best practices where you can.
The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to be extremely wary of pervasive online ads offering the promise of a whiter, brighter smile. BBBs around the country have received a number of complaints from consumers who thought they were signing up for a free trial of teeth-whitening products but were repeatedly billed for products and services they didn't want. The ubiquitous ads for teeth whiteners can be found on popular sites such as FoxNews.com, CNN.com and ABCNews.com. The ads typically link consumers to phony blogs and fake news sites that are designed to look like impartial third-party endorsements of the products. The phony endorsements then direct the consumer to a main Web site that claims the product sold is "As seen on" ABC, Forbes.com, CBS News, CNN, and USA Today.
"From the complaints we've received, it's obvious that many consumers are unfortunately letting their trust in respected news outlets influence their level of trust in the products being advertised on their Web sites," said Steve J. Bernas of the Better Business Bureau. "While it may be true that advertisements for the teeth whiteners were placed on major news Web sites, reporters for USA Today or CNN did not write stories about the efficacy of the specific products being sold."
For more information on teeth-whitening products or online shopping, go to www.bbb.org.
Here are the top-paying jobs in the United States, according to CNNMoney.com:
4. Nurse anesthetist
5. Sales director
7. Finance director
8. Software architect
10. Insurance broker
Number to Know
55: Percent of chief financial officers who said their companies would be cutting back on bonuses this year, according to a survey by Grant Thornton. Seven percent of CFOs said their companies would be increasing bonuses.
Parents, want to monitor your child’s cell phone use? Check out Mobile Nanny, software that lets parents track and block mobile phone activity. Check it out at www.mobile-nanny.com.
GateHouse News Service