Author Archives: bizcombuzz

To Quote or Not to Quote

[Instructors: PDFs for the exercise and answer key are at the bottom of the post.]

In the business world, quotation marks are sometimes used haphazardly. Here is a quick review of the rules governing correct use of quotation marks.

 

Use quotation marks to enclose direct quotations.

“Honesty,” said the president, “is the best policy.”

Do not use quotation marks for paraphrased remarks. These remarks are often introduced by that.

The president said that honesty is always the best policy.

Use quotation marks to enclose short expressions such as slang, jargon, nicknames, words used in a special sense for humor or irony, and words following stamped or marked.

Josh was called a “pizza pirate” because he refused to chip in for the delivery. [Slang]

A great fear in business is having your business or service “commoditized.” [Jargon]

Frank Sinatra was also known as “Ol’ Blue Eyes.” [Nickname]

The former CEO could not find a job because she was “overqualified.” [Irony]

The box was stamped “Fragile.” [Words following “stamped”]

Use quotation marks or italics for words being defined or used as nouns.

The expression de facto means “in practice but not necessarily recognized.” [Italics for word being defined and quotation marks for definition]

One of the most frequently misspelled words is calendar. [Word being used as a noun within the sentence]

Do not use quotation marks haphazardly.

When you arrive, go to the Customer Service Department. [Do not use quotation marks around a destination or name of a unit within an organization.]

You are cordially invited to our exciting spring sale. [Do not put quotation marks around spring or any word to give it special emphasis.]

Try your skill by placing quotation marks or italics where you think they belong in the following sentences. Remove any quotation marks incorrectly used, and write “Correct” if the sentence is properly punctuated. You may use underscoring to indicate italics.

  1. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, I have a dream.
  2. Albert Einstein said that the true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.
  3. Verbing is defined as the process of turning a noun into a verb.
  4. All of the mailing cases were marked Glass—Handle With Care.
  5. Our annual “Fall Extravaganza” is the biggest and best sale in the region!
  6. His presidential address was marred by many uhms and ahs.
  7. Businesspeople often use the term best practices to mean the most effective techniques in a field or an industry.
  8. Senior executives want anything brought to their attention to be “high level”; that is, they want it neatly summarized and free of technical terms.
  9. Rock star Sting got his nickname from wearing yellow-and-black jerseys that other musicians thought made him look like a wasp.
  10. Happiness, said comedian George Burns, is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.
  11. During the summer extensive changes will be made to the “Human Resources Department.”
  12. The word secretary has a long and honorable history, but many office professionals now use other titles.
  13. The expression cook the books is not what we want to hear when a government investigation begins.
  14. Did the manager say that she wanted me to merge documents with our database list?
  15. Our copyeditor Angela said that she would scream if she saw another report with the expression “at this point in time.”

To Quote or Not to Quote Exercise

To Quote or Not to Quote-Key

How Much Freedom of Speech Do Employees Have?

Workers who want to exercise their Constitutional right to free speech might want to think before they speak. Whether an employee leans right or left, wears red or blue, the bottom line is that employers have the final word on what can and cannot be said at work.

Attorney Jim Hendricks, an expert in employment and labor law, explains: “The First Amendment only prohibits the government from restricting free speech—not your employer,” he wrote in The Wall Street Journal.

It is true that public employees are covered by state and federal statutes protecting freedom of speech. However, private companies have the right to decide what is acceptable for their employees to say when it comes to political speech.

For example, if an employee’s political opinions disrupt the business or its workers, the employer has the right to fire that individual. Similarly, when another employee interprets a co-worker’s comments as harassment or a personal insult, those comments could be deemed disruptive enough to merit termination. The upshot is that the business owner’s rights supersede those granted by the Constitution.

It’s not all arbitrary, however. Employers must be consistent in implementing free-speech policies. If they allow a MAGA cap, they must also allow a BLM pin. But since blatantly divisive opinions in the workplace can lead to tension that affects productivity, nearly 75 percent of workplaces prohibit any politically-inspired attire. 

Experts suggest that before spouting off, workers should check employee manuals and read up on state laws affecting political speech in the workplace.   

Discussion

  1. What kinds of clashes may erupt when employees voice strong political opinions at work?
  2. Do the laws that govern free speech in the workplace unfairly suppress discourse? 
  3. What are the pros and cons of prohibiting politically-inspired attire? 

_______________

Source: Steele, A. (2020, October 25). Is political speech protected in the workplace? Here’s what you need to know. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com

The Best Career Advice? Stay Positive… A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way… An E-Mail Free Summer (Well, Almost) for Work-Life Balance

The Best Career Advice? Stay Positive

Suggestions about LinkedIn profiles, networking, and résumés are important, but the most critical piece of career advice is to have unshakable faith in yourself and your ability to meet your goals, says CEO and long-time recruiter Jack Kelly.

Kelly writes in Forbes that when searching for a job or trying to move up within an organization—both of which can be demoralizing experiences—job seekers must believe in themselves. He notes that if self-doubt and fear creep in, those defeatist thoughts must be purged to attain a successful outcome.

Kelly points out that every endeavor has its challenges, including the job search and career advancement, and says occasionally being treated poorly is part of working life. But during those trying times, the secret to moving ahead is to persist in positivity no matter what has happened. He suggests visualizing being seated in the office of one’s dreams, feeling hopeful about the future, and focusing on the end goal despite what the present looks like.

Once job candidates have landed that job or gotten that raise, they should put the bad times in perspective, Kelly suggests. That six-month unemployment  or two years working toward a promotion is but a fleeting moment in a long professional life.

Source: Kelly, J. (2020, October 7). The most important piece of advice no one tells you. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com

A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way

Whether you are a professor teaching remotely or the CEO of a global organization, a simple human act of kindness is a fundamental strategy that leaders should practice, especially during the pandemic, say Harvard Business School professors Boris Groysberg and Susan Seligson.

Through compassionate listening and conscious validation of people’s fears, leaders can help others who are dealing with the obstacles brought on by the pandemic. The authors note that kindness can be learned the same way muscles strengthen from exercising, and practicing kindness nets results by increasing morale and performance and decreasing stress. Just a few phrases said in earnest can help justifiably anxious students or employees weather this difficult time. Some examples follow.

  1. I hear you.
  2. Are you okay?
  3. What can I do to help?
  4. How are you managing these days?
  5. I’m here for you.
  6. I know you’re doing the best you can.
  7. Thank you.
Groyson, B. & Seligson, S. (2020, November 1). Good leadership is an act of kindness. Harvard Business School. Retrieved from https://hbswk.hbs.edu

An E-Mail Free Summer (Well, Almost) for Work-Life Balance 

Many instructors are e-mail obsessed, manically checking correspondence and not resting until their inboxes are clear. But those are the same instructors who will undoubtedly suffer from burnout, especially if they continue to repeatedly check e-mail and wait for timely responses over the summer break.

One instructor claims to have found a happy solution, outlined here:

  • Establish an away message.
  • Check weekly, not daily.
  • Respond on Mondays only.
  • Remove the e-mail app from your phone.
  • Put away your laptop in the evenings.
  • Delete unnecessary e-mails without responding.
  • Remember the world will keep turning if you do not respond to every e-mail.