Friday, October 22, 2010

Should These Office "Buzzwords" be Banned?

Marlys Harris recently wrote an article on popular phrases that should be avoided in the workplace.  I agree that some of them must go (such as "going offline" to discuss a matter in-person), while others, although overused ("touching base" with a co-worker) can stay.  It's a matter of personal preference, after all. Like baby names, many of these phrases fade in and out of public favor (I remember when "proactive" was an especially popular term.)  My only objection to using this type of jargon is simple: a person's choice of language, especially in a business setting, should be truthful, accurate and easily understood.  That said, some of these phrases are too vague or confusing to be used:

"In transition": I hear this phrase often from fellow job seekers who are not unemployed, but, as they term it, "in transition."  I wouldn't recommend this, as it sounds intentionally vague.  Aren't we all "in transition" in some form or another?  Trust me, there is no shame in unemployment.  Better to be clear and state the truth: that you've been laid-off from your previous employer and are actively new opportunities.

"Turnkey"The potential for misuse of this buzzword is too great.  While it traditionally refers to a system that can be immediately installed and activated - as in, "We need a turnkey solution to our customer service issue" - one co-worker would consistently use it as a verb, such as, "Could you turnkey that file to me this afternoon?" or "I'll turnkey those meeting minutes to you after lunch."  

"Sharpen the pencil":  I've been debating this phrase with a friend for awhile now.  I've always understood this phrase to be used in negotiations, in which "sharpening the pencil" refers to making a better offer.  My friend interprets this phrase as concentrating on one's work.  Either way, it's a phrase too open to interpretation for office use.

"Spare bandwidth": I've never encountered this phrase at work, but apparently it exists as a way to assess one's time capacity - as in, "Do you have any spare bandwidth to complete this additional task?"  If someone asked me this, I would be thoroughly confused.  Please, don't do this to your co-workers. "Do you have any spare time?" is far easier to answer.

Need additional clarification?  Check out The Office Life's comprehensive Ridiculous Business Jargon Dictionary.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Terrific Resource for Managers

Alison Green's blog Ask a Manager (of which I am a huge fan) has recommended an excellent site for supervisors: the Management Center's Resource Library.  Simply subscribe to this site (it's free!) and get access to some very handy resources, such as hiring worksheets, reference check questions and scripts for a variety of employee issues.  Definitely worth a look. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Study Reveals Worst Cities for Jobs

Forbes has published the results of a Manpower survey that assessed employment outlooks across the U.S. Several cities were identified as having the worst hiring outlooks this fall (Harrisburg and Carlisle, PA are among several cities that are ranked seventh - how discouraging!)

Is your city listed?  And if so, do you agree or disagree with its ranking?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Unique Resources for the Unemployed

There is no shortage of information for job seekers online, including how to file for unemployment, land an interview and spend frugally.  For those readers already familiar with these types of resources, below are some unique websites I have stumbled upon:

Meetup facilitates face-to-face meetings between like-minded professionals who are looking to expand their current contacts.  Search groups by zip code and meet up with people of similar interests, professions, or fellow job seekers.

Unemployed Workers keeps readers updated on the progress of current legislation geared towards current workers and unemployed professionals.

My Life on the Dole is writer Ariel's blog about the challenges of life as an unemployed HR executive.  Her writing is funny; her experiences all-too-identifiable.  It's always good to remember that you're not alone in your unemployment!

Unemploymentality also offers moral support through its chronicling of "lifestyles of the penniless and downtrodden."  Hilarious video clips, as well as topics that include a "Survival Guide" and "Diaries of a Temp."  

If you know of any other creative resources for job seekers, send me an email at

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Successful 2nd Year for Harrisburg Cupcake Cup

The 2010 Harrisburg Cupcake Cup was a smashing success! This year's monetary donations reached $1,459.   Food donations (collected for the Central PA Food Bank) are still being counted. Founder Erica Streisfeld put forth a tremendous effort to organize a fun, original community event.

The Edible HR was proud to be an event sponsor, and looks forward to next year!

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Little Light Reading....

Some useful information for employers: Belinda Luscombe of Time Magazine wrote an interesting article on the cost of happiness (literally.)  She also describes two types of happiness (day-to-day and self-evaluation) and the influence a person's annual income has on these types of personal satisfaction.