Dating Coworkers a Sticky Wicket
Office romances have been around for, well, as long as there have been offices. Recent research indicates that around 40 percent of workers have dated a colleague. With the national conversation revolving around workplace harassment, companies and employees are trying to navigate the treacherous waters of what’s okay and what’s not when it comes to dating a coworker.
Some organizations are putting regulations on their books prohibiting relationships between managers and their direct reports. Others are codifying relationships with so-called “love contracts,” which require colleagues in a relationship to sign a statement in which both parties agree to behave professionally at work. At Facebook and Google, employees are allowed to ask a colleague out once. If the request is rejected, no more asking is allowed without HR stepping in.
However, micro-managing human relations can be a no-win situation for organizations—having too many rules surrounding adult relationships makes it difficult to attract and keep employees, say HR managers. Still, having some policies governing these interactions offers workers clarity and employers a way to protect themselves and their staff.
From the Wall Street Journal
Commas Count, Court Rules, and Company Pays
The omission of the much-debated Oxford comma in a Maine labor law resulted in a court ruling costing a local dairy $5 million.
The problematic punctuation—which is the comma placed after the penultimate item in a list of three or more items—was absent in a law governing overtime and caused confusion about how to interpret which activities were exempted from overtime pay.The problem began when the employer claimed its drivers were exempt from overtime pay, citing Maine’s labor law, which stated that overtime rules did not apply to:
The canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of:
(1) Agricultural produce;
(2) Meat and fish products; and
(3) Perishable foods.
The drivers claimed that the phrase “packing for shipment or distribution” read as a single act, and that since they never did any packing, they argued they should not have been exempt from overtime. The judge reviewing the case agreed and wrote that if the list of exemptions “used a serial comma to mark off the last of the activities that it lists, then the exemption would clearly encompass an activity that the drivers perform.”
Subsequently, the company settled the case–and the Maine legislature added clarifying punctuation to its law.
Tricks to Stoke Memory
- Make it memorable. Associate the detail to remember with something exciting or special to make it real instead of abstract. For example, if you need to remember to pick up a pizza, imagine sizzling hot cheese burning your mouth.
- Create a memory palace. A memory palace is a series of pictures you imagine superimposed onto a place you know well. If you need to remember items on a grocery list, imagine bread covering your office desk and make up a story for why it’s there. When you dredge up the image of the desk and see the bread all over it, the story will be there to help you recall the item on your grocery list.
- Fabricate fantasies. Connect tasks you need to do and create a whacky narrative out of them. For example, if you need to remember to call the IT manager and schedule a meeting, make up a story: The CEO stole all the company computers and you need to meet with the IT person to discuss how to handle things. The crazier the story, the more memorable it becomes.
- Pay attention. Turn on laser focus when you know you need to remember something. Say you need to remember someone’s name. Tell yourself “This person’s name is X, This person’s name is X.”
- Practice daily. Anything you want to excel at requires practice, and memorization is no exception. Avoid relying on lists and instead force your memory to do the work.
From Fast Company