Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Memorial Day Holiday

Memorial Day marks the beginning of Summer! DISCOVER STAFFING will be closed on Monday, May 31st. Time sheets are due no later than Noon on Tuesday, June 1st. Paychecks will be available on Thursday, June 3rd.

Remember, to qualify for holiday pay you must have worked 1200 career hours. You must work a minimum of 24 hours during the holiday work week and work the scheduled day before and after.

Have a safe and wonderful holiday weekend, and give our Veterans a moment of quiet gratitude.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Summer Dress Code Policy

DISCOVER STAFFING encourages our employees to follow the dress code policies for each of our client sites, however there are always some good rules to follow. You can see our official dress code policy here.

However, today Anthony Balderrama posted the 10 Taboos for Summer Attire in the Office.

10 Taboos for Summer Attire in the Office
By Anthony Balderrama, CareerBuilder.com writer

When you discuss fashion, you have to acknowledge that no strict rules apply to everyone. For some professions, a suit is the de rigueur attire. In other industries, work clothes make more sense. And plenty of organizations fall somewhere between. During the summer, the rules get even murkier because everyone has his or her own idea of what's appropriate. And if you've taken a look around, you know some people really take liberties with their wardrobe.

Because we can't address every possible mistake for every workplace, we've put together some guidelines that work for many workplaces. Maybe only nine of the 10 tips apply to your company. Still, the bottom line is that you should put some thought into what you wear, because your wardrobe affects your professional reputation.

Here are 10 summer-attire taboos:

1. Flip-flops
Professional or dressy sandals are acceptable in many workplaces, and you know better than anyone if you work in such a place. Flip-flops and other recreational footwear are rarely acceptable for the same reason blowing a bubble with gum in a meeting is inappropriate: You look out of place and inconsiderate to your audience. Plus, that annoying sound of the flip-flop slapping against your heel will not make you any friends.

2. Bathing suits in any form
This tip might sound obvious, and hopefully it is. However, in case it's not, remember that sprucing up your bathing suit with a nice shirt, a belt, shorts or any other accessory will not fool anyone. If you're going straight to the pool after work, just change your clothes in the bathroom or a private office when the day is over.

3. Sunglasses indoors
You're not Bono. Yes, the sunlight is blinding when you walk outside or drive to work, but sunglasses don't belong indoors. People can't tell if you're paying attention to them when your eyes are hidden behind dark lenses, and everyone will wonder if your pupils were just dilated.

4. Shorts
Shorts automatically take the professional image down a notch, which could be a good thing for some places. For example, if you walk into a store that sells surfboards and wetsuits, you want to be greeted by someone in shorts and a tee, not a suit and briefcase. In most workplaces, however, shorts detract from a professional demeanor. Even nice shorts that are more suited for a day the country club than an afternoon painting your kitchen aren't as pulled together as a pair of pants.

5. Tank tops
Regardless of the season, you should be wary of showing too much skin. In the summer, tank tops are prevalent in many wardrobes, and you might be tempted to sport one to work. Don't. From an aesthetic standpoint, tanks make people think of a six-pack of beer, not of a six-figure salary. A professional look should lean more toward the latter.

Another issue that exists in some organizations is the idea that no one, male or female, should have bare arms. Remember when Michelle Obama took flak for her sleeveless blouses? As with many of these tips, use your best judgment. Unless your occupation involves some form of labor where sleeves affect your work, you should keep your upper arms covered.

6. Apparel that smells like or carries remnants of the beach
Who doesn't love the beach? The sun, the waves lapping against the shore, the sand between your toes. If you need to bring a starfish home as a vacation souvenir, by all means, do it. Just don't wear your beach clothes to the office -- especially if they have that aroma of fresh ocean life or are leaving a trail of sand behind you. If, by some chance, your beach wardrobe is suitable for your workplace, at least have the good sense to run it through the washer once or twice.

7. Funny shirts or shirts from your vacation destination
Your "I'm Not as Think as You Drunk I Am" shirt might make your best friends laugh, but your boss, colleagues and customers or clients will disagree. Clothing shouldn't announce itself, so steer clear of humor. And shirts bearing the name of your last vacation destination ("Mexico!" or "Missouri: The Show Me State") will probably make your overworked colleagues begrudge your time off.

8. Not being prepared
Even if you're allowed to be casual during the summer, have a backup outfit or piece of clothing to dress up your attire. If you're in jeans and a plain T-shirt and your biggest client calls a last-minute meeting, it wouldn't hurt to have a least a blazer or nicer shirt on hand. Being prepared is never a bad thing.

9. Anything see-through.
Another tip that should go without saying, but just in case: Skin and undergarments should not be seen through the fabric you're wearing. Lightweight linen that's breezy and comfortable on the beach is inappropriate at work, not to mention uncomfortable for your co-workers.

10. Testing the limits
If your employer gives you wiggle room with the dress code by using words such as "appropriate" and "reasonable" to describe acceptable attire, use your brain. A ketchup-stained T-shirt, scandalously short shorts and dilapidated tennis shoes are acceptable in your personal life, but not at work. And you know that. So don't ruin summer wardrobes for everyone.

Anthony Balderrama is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, "The Work Buzz." He researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/abalderrama.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thinking Outside the Box

Every wonder where some of those corporate catch phrases come from? I know I do. So I thought I might research the origin of one popular office cliche - "Thinking Outside of the Box". Turning to my favorite information website, Wikipedia, I discovered the following information.

The origin of the phrase is somewhat obscure. John Adair claims to have introduced the problem in 1969. Management consultant Mike Vance has claimed that the use of the nine-dot puzzle in consultancy circles stems from the corporate culture of the Walt Disney Company, where the puzzle was used in-house. Both Martin Kihn of Fast Company and the Random House Word Mavens agree that the phrase relates to a traditional topographical puzzle called the nine dots puzzle.

According to consultants of the 1970s and 1980s tried to make their prospective clients feel inferior by presenting them with the puzzle. The challenge is to connect the dots by drawing four straight, continuous lines that pass through each of the nine dots, and never lifting the pencil from the paper. The puzzle is easily solved but only if you draw the lines outside the confines of the square area defined by the nine dots themselves. Thus, the phrase "thinking outside the box" was born. The Word Mavens refer to Prof. Daniel Kies of the College of DuPage, who observes that the puzzle only seems difficult because "we imagine a boundary around the edge of the dot array."

The nine dots puzzle is much older than the slogan. It appears in Sam Loyd's 1914 Cyclopedia of Puzzles. In the 1951 compilation The Puzzle-Mine: Puzzles Collected from the Works of the Late Henry Ernest Dudeney, the puzzle is attributed to Dudeney himself.

Sam Loyd's original formulation of the puzzle called it "Christopher Columbus's egg puzzle." as an allusion to the story of Egg of Columbus.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A little "Pick Me Up"

Yahoo! had this on their front page today:

Five minutes in the green can boost self esteem

Sat May 1, 6:02 pm ET

LONDON, May 1 (Reuters Life) – Just five minutes of exercise a day in the great outdoors can improve mental health, according to a study released on Saturday, and policymakers should encourage more people to spend time in parks and gardens.

Researchers from the University of Essex found that as little as five minutes of a "green activity" such as walking, gardening, cycling or farming can boost mood and self esteem.

"We believe that there would be a large potential benefit to individuals, society and to the costs of the health service if all groups of people were to self-medicate more with green exercise," Barton said in a statement about the study, which was published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Many studies have shown that outdoor exercise can reduce the risk of mental illness and improve a sense of well-being, but Jules Pretty and Jo Barton, who led this study, said that until now no one knew how much time needed to be spent on green exercise for the benefits to show.

Barton and Pretty looked at data from 1,252 people of different ages, genders and mental health status taken from 10 existing studies in Britain.

They analyzed activities such as walking, gardening, cycling, fishing, boating, horse-riding and farming.

They found that the greatest health changes occurred in the young and the mentally ill, although people of all ages and social groups benefited. The largest positive effect on self-esteem came from a five-minute dose of "green exercise."

All natural environments were beneficial, including parks in towns or cities, they said, but green areas with water appeared to have a more positive effect.

(Reporting by Kate Kelland, editing by Paul Casciato)