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Archive for December, 2011

Pay gap extends to female retail workers.
An article by Adrianne Pasquarelli in yesterday’s (12/20/11) Crain’s New York Business reported that although there are more working in retail, they’re getting paid a lot less than their male counterparts.

The entire article can be found here 


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Posted on Forbes.com by Stephanie Taylor Christensen, Contributor – 12/11/2011

A boss can literally, make or break your career. Here are five ways to spot the bad ones before they become yours.

A great boss can make you feel engaged and empowered at work, will keep you out of unnecessary office politics, and can identify and grow your strengths. But a bad boss can make the most impressive job on paper (and salary) quickly unbearable. Not only will a bad boss make you dislike at least 80% of your week, your relationships might suffer, too. A recent study conducted at Baylor University found that stress and tension caused by an abusive boss “affects the marital relationship and subsequently, the employee’s entire family.” Supervisor abuse isn’t always as blatant as a screaming temper tantrum; it can include taking personal anger out on you for no reason, dismissing your ideas in a meeting, or simply, being rude and critical of your work, while offering no constructive ways to improve it.  Whatever the exhibition of bad boss behavior, your work and personal life will suffer. Merideth Ferguson, PH.D., co-author of the study and assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship at Baylor explains that “it may be that as supervisor abuse heightens tension in the relationship, the employee is less motivated or able to engage in positive interactions with the partner and other family members.”

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The below story is why I am seeking legal advice this very day about my 115+k student loan debt.

The Return of Debtor’s Prison: Thousands of Americans Jailed for Not Paying Their Bills

By Marie Diamond

Federal imprisonment for unpaid debt has been illegal in the U.S. since 1833. It’s a practice people associate more with the age of Dickens than modern-day America. But as more Americans struggle to pay their bills in the wake of the recession, collection agencies are using harsher methods to get their money, ushering in the return of debtor’s prisons.

NPR reports that it’s becoming increasingly common for people to serve jail time as a result of their debt. Because of “sloppy, incomplete or even false documentation,” many borrowers facing jail time don’t even know they’re being sued by creditors:

 

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According to AARP, “You may be able to deduct some of your expenses on your tax return. Here are seven things the IRS wants you to know about deducting costs related to your job search…”

 

 

 

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Well, this isn’t the first time its happened.

The holidays are here once again – filled with good food and good cheer, but with a crippling price tag attached to the “cheer” in ways that seem quite innocent.

The doctor of the small healthcare office where I werk hosted a holiday dinner party for the few employees and other practitioners who share the office space.

The doctor lives in a small, but swanky NYC high-rise apartment building and cooked a fabulous, healthy feast for us guests. Indeed, I felt welcomed, the food was divine and the atmosphere was warm and convivial.

Even though I can barely pay my rent on what I earn working for this doctor, I felt I could not go to this dinner party empty handed. So, I picked up some wholesome sugar-free sparkling beverages with my food stamps. The total of the bill was $21.23. Twenty dollars is more than I make per hour werking for the good doctor.

It was hard not to feel resentful carrying the bag of drinks on the subway to the party.

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My boss called me from Philadelphia. She was 30 minutes early to her meeting so she called to “check in” and chitty-chat as she always does when she has time to kill. Problem is, I don’t have time to kill talking to her because I have to work on the five assignments she just gave me in addition to my existing work. Plus, is there really so much time in the world, in our lives that we must kill it?!

Last time I checked the Fountain of Youth had still not been discovered. U.S. is still involved numerous public and clandestine wars, unemployment in this country is sky-high, mortgage and student loan debt is forcing regular American Janes and Joes to take drastic measures and a good deal of those formerly receiving unemployment benefits have dropped out of the job search game altogether—how are they supporting themselves?

“We have a company meeting with our accountant tomorrow morning,” she said. “So I will not be in a good mood.”

“So you’ll be angry all day,” I asked, laughing, as if I were joking. I wasn’t.

When I got off the phone with her, my colleagues each took their turn being grilled about what was going on in the office, what they were working and whether they were going to make their quota for the day.

“So let me tell you what [insert boss name here] said about her schedule for tomorrow,” I announced to my colleagues. When I reached the punch line, about asking [boss] if she would be angry all day, a co-worker with the same name as mine, laughed ruefully, “You should have retorted, ‘Oh, just like a regular day at the office then, huh.’”

You know, I don’t hate my boss. She is not a bad person. She’s pretty understanding about mental health days (even though she doesn’t know they are for mental, and not physical, rest and rejuvenation). And, while she does hover around our desks sometimes when she gets nervous about business, she usually gives us a decent amount of latitude. She’s not part of the 1%, but she has a couple of fur coats and she and her husband own three homes: an apartment on the Upper East Side of NYC, a home in an urban area of a very rich country and another home, a grande estate on a private island in the Mediterranean somewhere. They vacation in various countries, states and cities regularly. They go out almost every night to galas, fancy restaurants, fundraisers, auctions and expensive celebrity concerts.

Meanwhile, in the past few month we’ve lost some business. In fact several clients have disappeared completely. [Boss] has been threatening that she will not be able to meet payroll; that she will have to “shut the lights and close the doors of this place”; that that that…

So not cool.

I don’t want to know from her Upper East Side financial problems just like I am sure she doesn’t want to know that I live paycheck to paycheck in Brooklyn. She does not understand—or want to know–that, really, I am not very far removed from the girl down the street from our office sitting in front of a deli off Park Avenue, unwashed and smelly, shivering and mortified, hungry and beyond embarrassed, but nevertheless holding a cardboard sign asking for money and food. My colleagues and I do for the girl what we can—regift her the food from the holiday baskets that arrive, supply a hat and gloves, buy her a coffee here and there… but it’s not enough. I don’t know how she will survive the winter.

Yep. Please shut the light and close the door, it’s getting kind of drafty in here.

PS: For all the naysayers and apologists for capitalism: Yes, I am lucky to have a job. However, I don’t have to like the particular job I have – or the system in which is exists.

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The Congo’s Midas Curse

Meet the men and women who bring you the bling. —Marcus Bleasdale/VII

“American consumers and investors are among those who profit most from Congo’s misery—be they the Wall Street mogul who owns 12 percent of mining multinational AngloGold Ashanti, or simply everyday folks who like electronic gadgets and sparkly jewelry.”

photo essay from Mother Jones

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