Category Archives: 1. The Scoop

Four Easy Ways to Improve Google Searches… Improve Messaging with Positivity… Academic Rigor Cited as Biggest Cause of Student Anxiety

Four Easy Ways to Improve Google Searches 

Who hasn’t been overwhelmed when entering a keywords into Google only to see that the search engine has provided over a million hits? It turns out that researchers can use some easy tricks to manage searches.

 1. Exclude specific topics
Use the minus symbol (-) to exclude irrelevant hits.
Example: You want to research the genetics of twins but do not want to weed through information on the Minnesota Twins baseball team. Enter twins-Minnesota for the most relevant information.

2. Request info from a specific site
Add the URL for information from a particular website.
Example: You are interested in articles on the iPhone directly from, say, Fortune Magazine. Enter

3. Enter a specific time period
Refine results by limiting dates from which you want to see data using two periods between the dates.
Example: For information about iPhone launches from a certain period, enter the dates thus: iPhone 2007..2008

4. Combine results by using and/or modifiers
Further hone your search by using the Boolean operators AND as well as OR. [The modifiers must be in caps.]
Example: Say you need information on Minnesota sports teams. To find results in which two of the teams are mentioned in one search type Minnesota Twins AND Vikings. To obtain information on specific teams type Minnesota Twins OR Timberwolves OR Vikings OR Wild. Other useful Boolean operators are NOT and NEAR. NOT excludes documents that contain the word or phrase following NOT; NEAR helps find adjacent words New York marathon NEAR runner lottery.

Based on Aamoth, D. (2022, October 22.) 4 Google tricks to take your searches to the next level. Fast Company. Retrieved from

Improve Messaging with Positivity 

Some people are born with a sunny, positive outlook. Others, not so much. However, in the workplace, bosses prefer hearing (and reading) positive messaging. For those who need a little help sounding more upbeat, positive psychologists (yes, it’s a thing) offer advice for how to communicate using a different perspective.

For example, if you don’t think you’ll make a work deadline, opt for positive phrasing to convey the message by saying or writing I can get you the report by Wednesday at the earliest. This way, you are focusing on what you can do instead of what you cannot do.

According to positive psychology researchers, you can come across as less of a curmudgeon by starting conversations with a “power lead,” i.e., saying something that will cause a smile instead of a frown. If a colleague asks how your weekend was, don’t lead with I spent hours working on my taxes. Find something upbeat to report: I had the best falafel I’ve ever eaten.

If all else fails, try thinking like a pronoid, a word one happy camper made up to explain that he thinks the world is conspiring to bring him happiness instead of being paranoid.

Feintzeig, R. (2023, January 23.) Yes, you can train yourself to be a positive person. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from

Academic Rigor Cited as Biggest Cause of Student Anxiety

Two academics who specialize in education and learning have published the results of a five-year study that interviewed over 2,000 students, alumni, faculty, and other stakeholders in higher education. The research was conducted at ten institutions of higher learning, from highly selective private universities to less selective state schools.

The startling finding was that most students were concerned about their GPAs and résumés and said that future jobs and earning potential were more important than learning. Nearly half of the student respondents, 44 percent, consider mental health the biggest problem on campus and cite their fear of academic rigor as the root of that issue..

Students cited the “pressure” to achieve a high GPA as the primary cause of their anxiety, followed by handling their academic workload.

Based on MindShift. (2022, December 7.) College students say academic pressure is the most common cause of mental health problems—and not just at highly selective institutions. KQED. Retrieved from


Navigating Work-Life Boundaries When Colleagues Party… Handling Cryptic Notes from the Boss… 5 Dos and Don’ts During Internships

Navigating Work-Life Boundaries When Colleagues Party

At the end of the business day, some organizational cultures move the office to the bar, drinking together long into the night as coworkers talk about work and more. Many times, the night out ends just hours before employees are expected to be back at their desks in the morning. But if tipsy colleagues are closing the bar, new-hires who wish to have a clear boundary between life and work should be mindful of the consequences of socializing and drinking at after-hours gatherings.

Many workers realize that important conversations about business occur during these late-night events, so they feel obligated to attend and go against their “don’t get drunk at work events” policies. But breaking such rules ultimately causes the reluctant partyer to feel resentment. Experts advise that workers set their boundaries, even if they will miss out on consequential conversations. As new employees become more ensconced in the organization, they should look for alternatives to after-hours activities. After all, the “don’t get drunk at work events” policy has merit and shouldn’t be abandoned despite what others are doing.            

Gay, R. (2022, December 14.) It’s happy hour, not “happy every hour.“ The New York Times. Retrieved from

Dealing with Cryptic Notes from Boss All Part of The Job

Young professionals are often confused when they receive this curt message from their bosses: pls fix. It’s a buzzword, especially in consulting or finance, that is shorthand for fix this ASAP and don’t mess up like this again. It’s so frequently used that the term has entered the Urban Dictionary.

Other iterations exist: please action or make better. Whatever the note says, it lacks specificity but it means the recipient should drop everything and return a new version of whatever the boss has sent. The time of day (or night) these messages arrive means nothing to the manager, who expects that the employee will jump on the request and somehow figure out how to improve the task.

Those who work in high-powered industries such as finance and consulting need to be able to figure out what’s wrong and what it takes to get it right. Sanchit Wadhawan, a 25-year-old consultant in Atlanta, received an urgent pls fix message from his boss on a Friday night with an attached 50-slide PowerPoint. Wadhawan figured out the problem–too many fonts, inconsistent colors—and made the fixes. As a high achiever in a demanding job, he says this sort of work ethic is de rigueur.

So far, the practice appears to be confined to these two demanding industries.

Ellis, L. (2022, October 10.) The two words that terrify junior employees. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from

5 Dos and Don’ts During Internship

Deloitte, one of the Big Four accounting firms and a frequent hirer of college interns, offers up advice for a successful internship experience.


  • Be prepared. Dress appropriately and always take notes at meetings.
  • Ask questions. Clarify any doubts with a more senior staff member so that you can do your job.
  • Be proactive. If you’ve finished a task, ask team mates what else you can do to be helpful.
  • Add value. Go the extra mile and be a proactive team member by offering relevant suggestions.
  • Get involved. Participate in any social events at the organization, and take the opportunity to mingle and get to know colleagues.


  • Don’t be unprofessional. Accept feedback without taking it personally. Learn from mistakes and move on.
  • Don’t be late. Better to be a few minutes early than late.
  • Don’t let stress paralyze you. If faced with a challenge, ask for help.
  • Don’t lose your temper. The office is no place for a temper tantrum.
  • Don’t be a pessimist. A can-do attitude will net better results.

Deloitte. (2019). Decisions Magazine, Issue 12. Retrieved from





Emoji Meanings Differ Across Generations… Good News for This Year’s Graduates… Should Instructors Allow Smartphones in Class?

Emoji Meanings Differ Across Generations

You’re showing your age if you think the sneezing emoji 🤧 means you’re sick. While millennials take the image literally, Gen Z uses a completely different interpretation, as in “That’s sick!” or to translate, “That’s good!”

Although each generation has long adapted language to express its particular values and beliefs, this behavior causes confusion in today’s workplace, where boomers, Gen X, millennials, and Gen Z mingle. But emojis have joined the lexicon, and they are increasingly causing misunderstandings.

According to a survey by Duolingo and Slack, 74 percent of respondents admit to experiencing emoji use confusion. For example, the versatile kissy face 😗 means general affection to some, Platonic love to others, or even romantic love. It’s no wonder use of the popular image in the workplace has been responsible for communication glitches.

The situation is linked to age. The younger the employee, the more meaning the worker attaches to an emoji. A lack of an emoji can likewise cause awkwardness. Such was the case of a 23-year-old staffer who received a simple message from an older coworker: Okay. The youthful recipient worried that the colleague’s lack of a smiley face indicated anger.

Emoji usage at work is constantly evolving. The best advice seems to be to take a cue from how supervisors and coworkers use them and follow their lead.

Source: Lynch, S. (2022, November 4.) This is what Gen Z thinks about their coworkers’ emoji use. Fast Company. Retrieved from

Good News for This Year’s Graduates

Employers plan to tap new college graduates this spring, according to research conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. The industries most eager to hire include finance, insurance, real estate, computer, and electronics manufacturing.

NACE connects college career services professionals and recruiters while providing research and forecasting about employment and college-educated individuals. The latest NACE survey found that despite growing worries about a recession, companies have unfilled positions and are anxious to close that gap. The research also found that even the tech sector is anxious to hire, despite massive layoffs at Microsoft and Meta.

Similarly, firms are returning to more in-person events to grab graduates’ attention.

Source: Ellis, L. (2022, October 26.) College seniors can expect lots of job offers next spring. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from

Should Instructors Allow Smartphones in Class?

Instructors have varying approaches to smartphone use in class. Below are three types of policies and their rationales.

1. No phones. Professors who do not allow cellphone use say doing so prevents students from tuning out during classwork and discussions. When students do not comply with the rule, instructors ask those individuals to put away their devices unless they are on an emergency watch.

2. Limited phone use. This tactic allows students to consult their phones only after they have given their full attention to a lesson or lecture for 20-30-minutes. Instructors say this approach is best codified in the course syllabus and requires verbal reminders that the phone break is X minutes away.

3. Integrating smartphones into class. In this strategy, the instructor asks students to use their phones for a specific reason. Some days students are told to use their phones to discover a point about a lesson. When finished, they are told to put their phones away. Other instructors only allow students to use their phones to take images of lecture slides.

One instructor actually performed research about how student work was affected by allowing smartphones in class. She randomly divided the class into sections. One group was allowed phones while the other was not. The results were not surprising: Student without their phones exhibited better comprehension, less anxiety, and more mindfulness.

Source: McMurtrie, B. (2022, October 20.) Should you allow cellphones in class? The Chronicle: Teaching Newsletter. Retrieved from