Category Archives: 3. News You Can Use

The F-bomb in the Office?

Casual profanity has permeated our language, even at the office, leaving some confused about what’s okay to say.

The root of the problem may lie in the way different generations interpret the use of profanity. Benjamin Bergen, author of What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves, points out that although language is always in flux, today marks the largest gap ever between generational use of curse words. Bergen explains that if a millennial checks his Twitter feed before work and sees the f-word dozens or even hundreds of times, it’s more likely for that individual to use the word later at work when, say, complaining about an empty coffee pot. While some co-workers overhearing the f-bomb may not blink an eye, others, perhaps older colleagues, may take offense.

Another reason for the conundrum surrounding cursing is that today’s young workers do not consider the f-bomb offensive when used to express enthusiasm (That was f-ing awesome!) or as an adjective to indicate a reaction (What the f did she mean by that?) In fact, a recent survey found that 70% of millennials say they curse at work; about a third claim cursing actually helps a team bond. What millennials do find offensive is using the f-bomb to intimidate or berate (You better up your f-ing game or you are out!)

However, some experts contend that use of such language in the workplace does not reflect well on the speaker’s judgment. Many conversations that include the f-word occur between colleagues in common work areas where the profanity can be easily overheard. Although plenty of workers may find a chat splattered with cursing routine, others could consider the practice workplace harassment.

Where to draw the line?

Discussion

  1. In which work situations should you never use a curse word?
  2. What are the pros and cons of policies that regulate workplace language?
  3. What is the best way to judge whether to inject profanity into a conversation?

Job Outlook News Is Good and Bad

First, the good news: For the eighth year in a row, employers are hiring more college graduates.

The bad news? According to a recent survey, many new grads are not measuring up to employers’ expectations.

The survey questioned approximately 400 employers and 400 new graduates and found disparities between what employers need and what new grads can offer. One of the biggest problems for employers is the lack of qualified candidates. Plenty of positions remain unfilled in the fields of engineering, business, and computer science because not enough students have majored in those fields, the survey found.

The disconnect between employers’ needs and grads’ preparedness goes deeper. Employers are willing to interview candidates who possess just 60 percent of the qualifications for a position. However, one-third of applicants apply to jobs for which they are completely unqualified, according to the survey results.

Employers have plenty to say about new grads they meet during interviews, as well. Too many come to an interview without being familiar with the industry or the organization, employers complain, and not enough ask relevant questions about the position. Over half of the candidates employers talk to display negative body language, dress inappropriately, and do not clearly voice their past experiences. Worse, 75 percent of those interviewed never send a thank-you note to indicate their enthusiasm for the position.

Interestingly, college grads seem to have an inflated sense of their own worth. The survey’s respondents felt confident in their ability to interview well (90 percent) in direct contrast to what employers experienced. As for salary, the grads expected to earn over $53,000 for their first job; the average salary recruiters offered was $45,000.

The jobs are out there. How can students be better prepared to land them?

Discussion

  1. How can you learn about an organization before you interview? What resources are available to study and help you prepare?
  2. Why do employers consider prior experience so important?
  3. In which ways can you show your communication skills, both written and spoken, at an interview?

 

Millennials Learn Business Etiquette – at the Plaza Hotel!

Many millennials may be familiar with the classic and elegant Plaza Hotel from reading the beloved children’s book Eloise. However, few are likely aware that the New York City establishment is offering business etiquette lessons to young professionals.

The Plaza Hotel Finishing Program, launched in conjunction with the Beaumont Etiquette School’s Myka Meier, emphasizes the importance of showing respect in business situations. Meier covers a host of topics from proper e-mail rules, when to use emojis, and even modest sitting positions.

Offering either hour-long or five-hour intensive courses, the curriculum tackles such issues as dining manners, social interaction, and networking, all with the objective of countering the relaxed manners that typify the young generation of new business professionals.

Other topics addressed are proper hand shaking (only two pumps for business events), starting conversations (avoid the clichéd, “So what do you do?”), and improving eye contact. However, increasing participants’ charm quotient is the real goal. Meier notes that charm is a required ingredient for success, but that it can be learned.

One of the biggest problems facing millennials, Meier says, is that the increase in technology use has made personal conversations land mines for the unpracticed. To help her students, she encourages networking among classmates at the hotel after class sessions.

Discussion

  1. Myka Meier has stated that etiquette “has become trendy.” Do you agree? If so, to what do you attribute this new interest in manners and civility?
  2. Many claim that millennials are careless and lax in their business behavior. What repercussions might such conduct have in the workplace?
  3. Why is engaging in personal conversations so important for success in the professional world? What can you do now to help prepare yourself to become a more confident conversationalist?