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Around the Web this Week

February 26 - March 3

Around the Web this Week
“Detail oriented”, “Can work in a fast-paced environment”, “team player”… We’ve all seen these buzzwords used in various job ads. Fortune Magazine suggests these buzzwords can clue you in to secrets about the potential employer.

For example, when a job listing is filled with too much old jargon like this, "it could very well be that [the employers] actually have no idea what they are looking for. Similarly, conflicting qualities asked for in a job listing—such as "entrepreneurial" and "team player"—could suggest a number of issues the company has (unrealistic expectations for employees or a lack of strategy overall).

Here are a few buzzwords decrypted for your pleasure!

Multitask - What they're trying to say is, 'We may switch up your job description without telling you and we want you to be okay with it.

Creativity for "out of the box" solutions - If you relish charting your own course, respond to the job ads that reference creativity, problem solving and "out of the box" thinking. "That's jargon for: we don't have it figured out yet".

Team player - This phrase really means that you'll take whatever the bosses dish out, "for the team." "Team player is code phrase for someone who will allow us to do whatever we want to you".

Fast-paced work environment - This means that the employer wants high productivity at all costs and you'll be fielding a steady flow of emergencies. "Fast paced means you're going to work more hours than we're paying you,"

Paying attention to the buzzwords used in a job ad might alert you to red flags about your potential employer and help you figure out whether the job is a right match for you.

But don’t forget, you don’t need to need to match every single requirement. The Daily Muse explains that a job descriptions is a hiring manager’s wish list for the ideal candidate, not as a list of non-negotiable requirements. So don’t bin your application just because you don’t have Extensive knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite. Just prove yourself and explain why you have what it takes to do the job!

Around the Web this Week
Lifehacker reports on a new study showing how hard it is to shake off work-related stress. Most of us still struggle with bringing this stress home as it affects our family, friends, and all our other relationships. This new study, conducted by the Université Francois Rabelais and published in the Journal of Business and Psychology questioned 1,100 employees at different companies to find out how closely a boss's management style and employee morale correlated.

The Atlantic explains that employees who felt their autonomy and their contributions were respected reported higher morale and better on-the-job performance. Employees who felt like their boss didn't trust them to do the work they were assigned, or who "motivated" them by making them feel bad for not being more productive were the most stressed out, and subsequently took that stress home with them, where it overflowed into their personal lives and relationships.

Lifehacker has some tips for the over-stressed, over-worked people out there. Among them, “Get a hobby, or another activity to de-stress right after work”, “Visualize, meditate, or take time alone to power through it”, “Transfer to a different team or role in your company”, or simply “Let your boss know”.

And if you still had doubts about the health impact of bad bosses, check out this infographic from Human Resources MBA to find out if you are at risk in a hostile work environment.

Around the Web this Week
We’ve said it before, but new research is confirming it: Women use social media in a more effective way than men. The Pew Internet & American Life Project released a new study called “Privacy management on social media sites”. It found that when it comes to managing their social media profiles, women, on average, behave more like mature, responsible adults while men act like impulsive adolescents.

In short, women are more likely to restrict their sharing to those within their circles, while men impose little or no restrictions. And perhaps because they’re not as careful about controlling who sees their social media feeds, men are substantially more prone to regret the content they post there. This cautiousness allows ladies to manage their reputations online.

After all, as The Grindstone puts it, “Women’s mastery of social media can only be an asset to them in the business world. As the public relations industry increases its reliance on social media consultants to continuously update business Twitter and Facebook accounts, these socially adept women might be making careers out of their Facebook know-how.”

Speaking of social media, have you succumbed to the latest craze, the new social media darling? Yes, we’re talking about Pinterest. If you’re not yet familiar, Pinterest is the recently launched online version of a bulletin board—a place where you can save all your favorite images from across the web and organize them by boards. While Pinterest is great for checking out new outfits, pinning tasty-looking food, and picking out wallpapers for your future dream house, it can be a great tool for work, too. Inc. explains how businesses are joining Pinterest to display product, create brand awareness, build communities and, in some cases, grow profits by leaps and bounds.

And no surprise there, the vast majority of Pinterest's users are women

Around the Web this Week
Since 2001, the number of female IT graduates in the UK entering the field of technology has dropped by almost 50%. Are women shying away from tech jobs because of the bad reputation the sector has? Is it a perception problem?

British tech executive Jane Tappuni wrote a column in The Guardian where she argues that the low number of women in tech is not due to the lack of female role models. Instead she says that women naturally turn away from the sector because they still see it as a career for geeks who like to fiddle with servers and software.

“It is well known that women are more prone to using the right side of their brain, the more imaginative and artistic side, which generally propels them to more creative careers. One could argue that men, tending to make better use of the logical left side of their brains, would be naturally more suited to a career in IT.” says Tappuni. But the tech sector today is much more than that.

Nowadays, tech employers are looking for creativity, idea-generation, multitasking, problem-solving and a general keenness to think of new ways of doing things. Surely, this makes it more attractive for women, no?

Also in the tech news this week, something to celebrate. According to figures released by the National Women’s Business Council, the percentage of trademarks and patents granted to women has more than doubled in the last several decades. The numbers indicate an increase in entrepreneurial activity among women. Sectors with the highest number of women-owned patents include chemistry, pharmaceuticals, semiconductor device manufacturing and furnishings. Good job!

Around the Web this Week
The employment rate of women in Italy is 46 per cent, the lowest in the European Union after Malta. In terms of gender equality, Italy ranks 74th, below Bangladesh, according to the World Economic Forum’s 2011 Global Gender Gap report. In the upper echelons, the split is even starker. Men make up 92 per cent of the boards of Italian companies, according to the national statistics office.

Bloomberg reports that things could finally be changing. For one, after decades of being overshadowed by Berlusconi’s legacy, three women are now at the forefront of the fight to get Italy back on track. New Italian Labor Minister Elsa Fornero is mediating between Emma Marcegaglia, head of the employers’ lobby, and Susanna Camusso, leader of the biggest union.

Among the measures outlined by Mr Monti’s government are reforms aimed at tackling gender discrimination in the workplace from employers who fail to respect maternity rights, to a macho culture that considers women’s primary role to be in the home.
Italian decision makers have also been told they need to get more women into the workplace by voices from the International Monetary Fund to Mario Draghi, governor of the European Central Bank and former head of the Bank of Italy. Under Berlusconi, parliament had already voted that by 2015, women should make up a third of board members at Italy’s listed companies. But as of today, this “pink quota” is considered by many in power to be a nice-to-have, rather than a must have. There is still a long road ahead.

Claudia Parzani, a partner at in the Milan office of Linklaters law firm, believes attitudes are changing even in the most traditional workplaces. Having more high-profile women is becoming a “reputational and branding issue” that will help to open up boardrooms. “When the crowd is moving, that’s when people realise they have to move too,” she says. Let’s hope so!

Around the Web this Week
This week, we came across this truly captivating article in The New York Times on how the dialect of young girls impacts everyone including the way women talk at work. By dialect we mean linguistic quirks such as the use of uptalk (pronouncing statements as if they were questions? Like this?), the incessant use of “like” as a conversation filler, or a new trend among female college students: a guttural fluttering of the vocal cords called “vocal fry” - best described as a raspy or croaking sound injected (usually) at the end of a sentence.

These quirks are often interpreted as the mark of someone insecure, emotional or even stupid. And while you might find that way of speaking annoying, linguists find it fascinating.

Apparently, the idea that young women serve as incubators of vocal trends for the culture at large is a well-documented. Some linguists suggest that women are more sensitive to social interactions and hence more likely to adopt subtle vocal cues. Others say women use language to assert their power (…) Another theory is that young women are simply given more leeway by society to speak flamboyantly.

In the case of the “vocal fry”, Ikuko Patricia Yuasa, a lecturer in linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, called it a natural result of women’s lowering their voices to sound more authoritative. Perhaps that same semblance of authority can explain why young, college-bound women seem to be employing the creak. Yuasa posited that it could be a way to compete with men by taking advantage of the attributes associated with a lower-pitched voice

One of the most perfect examples of the vocal fry is probably New York Times Managing Editor Jill Abramson. Watch the video of her below to hear what we’re talking about! 

Samedi 3 Mars 2012

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