A Maine court ruling in a case about overtime pay and dairy delivery didn’t come down to trucks, milk, or money. Instead, it hinged on one missing comma. (…) On March 13, a US court of appeals determined that certain clauses of Maine’s overtime laws are grammatically ambiguous. Because of that lack of clarity, the five drivers have won their lawsuit against Oakhurst, and are eligible for unpaid overtime.
And, as every company knows, overtime is costly.
The comma in question isn’t a true commoner, not with an Oxford University Press pedigree; it is a serial comma and one might even consider it a titled comma.
It was the relationship between the comma and lists that housed the seeds of lawsuit destruction. To clarify,
According to state law, the following types of activities are among those that don’t qualify for overtime pay:
The canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of:
(1) Agricultural produce;
(2) Meat and fish products; and
(3) Perishable foods.
(…) all the other exempted activities were listed as gerunds, words ending with “-ing”: Canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing. The word “distribution,” they argued, was therefore not intended to be one of the items in the list.
Unlike me, my ESL clients often err on the side of overuse, whereas for years I deleted commas after ‘and’ and ‘or’, but no longer.
Now I consider the actual content and context and, like the court, determine the meaning before using the delete key.
There are hundreds more posts, articles, books, research, comments, etc. that talk about the downside of jerks — brilliant or otherwise. (In case you’re wondering, the brilliance supposedly offsets the jerk part.)
But it’s a fallacy to think that it’s just women who are creating cultures that don’t tolerate brilliant jerks, just as it is to think that all brilliant jerks are male.
As with any other label, brilliant jerks can be found in any imaginable combination of race, creed, color, national origin, gender identification, size, and shape.
None are worth keeping, because, even if it takes some time, they will poison your culture and run off your team.
Image credit: Kurt Bauschardt
“Building trust is a multisensory experience,” she says. “Only when people are physically present together can they use all of their senses” to establish that needed trust. Without a bond, conflict or disengagement can more easily arise and is more difficult to resolve.
So whether you consider yourself a manager, a leader, a boss, or just a plain working stiff honing your in-person communication skills will not only improve your career opportunities, but also all parts of your life.
A little-noticed bill moving through Congress would allow companies to require employees to undergo genetic testing or risk paying a penalty of thousands of dollars, and would let employers see that genetic and other health information. (…) The new bill gets around that landmark law by stating explicitly that GINA and other protections do not apply when genetic tests are part of a ‘workplace wellness’ program.
This mean that, in the name of “wellness,” your boss will know if you were treated for an STD or that you are predisposed for alcoholism, Parkinson’s, cancer, or whatever.
Not only your boss, but the unregulated company that runs your company’s wellness program, but is not constrained by HIPPA rules.
Employers, especially large ones, generally hire outside companies to run them [wellness programs]. These companies are largely unregulated, and they are allowed to see genetic test results with employee names. (…) They sometimes sell the health information they collect from employees.
Can your company actually force you to comply?
No, but the penalty for refusing is costly in the form of higher insurance premiums and co-pays.
No health insurance at your company? You could still take a major financial hit.
If an employer has a wellness program but does sponsor health insurance, rather than increasing insurance premiums, the employer could dock the paychecks of workers who don’t participate.
In general, Corporate America’s attitude towards its employees reflects its attitude towards customers.
For the most part, that ranges from “general nuisance” to “necessary evil.”
And while the number of exceptions to that attitude, at least when it comes to customers, is growing, it doesn’t always apply to employees.
As the provisions of this long-desired bill prove.
That said, it will be a great recruiting tool for those companies that don’t do it.
Do you believe that Twitter was founded with effects like Arab Spring in mind? Or that Mark Zukerberg started Facebook for altruistic reasons? Or that Instagram, Snapchat and other similar sites actually have your wellbeing in mind?
If so, you probably also believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.
The primary purpose of every one of these sites is simple: to make as much money as possible.
Infinite personalization comprises the artificial intelligence-driven, big-data based tools that allow algorithms to build a personalized Internet echo chamber customized just for you, designed to make you feel great. Infinite personalization feeds you the real, the fake, and everything in between, with the simple goal of holding your attention and getting you to come back for more. It is the process by which companies can measure, match, and predict consumers’ individual preferences with amazing accuracy and then tailor offerings to maximize revenue.
It’s done with full knowledge and, in my opinion, malice afore thought.
It’s why tech titans, starting with Steve Jobs in 2010, limit their kids, as I said a couple of years ago in The Hypocrites of Tech.
They want their kids to grow to positions of leadership and power and know they can’t if their world shrinks to a self-enhancing echo chamber that only regurgitates information that fits their preconceived ideas.
What do Hampton Creek, Theranos, Zenefits, Lending Club, WrkRiot, ScoreBig, Rothenberg Ventures have in common?
They all channeled the “fake it ‘til you make it” ethos of Silicon Valley.
Only they didn’t make it.
Previous well-known cheats include MiniScribe, WorldCom and Enron and they’re only the tip of the iceberg.
Cheating is the getting of a reward for ability or finding an easy way out of an unpleasant situation by dishonest means. It is generally used for the breaking of rules to gain unfair advantage in a competitive situation. — Wikipedia
Yesterday’s post focused on the prevalence of cheating at all school levels and its acceptance as a laissez-faire, “everyone does it” attitude.
Of course, cheating isn’t new, but the more ubiquitous it’s become the more it’s been shrugged off.
Cheating on ideas, such as meritocracy and fairness, has certainly contributed to the rise of the bro culture, also exemplified by Uber and recently documented by Susan Fowler. However, as Uber engineer Aimee Lucido points out, Uber is far from being alone.
It does seem that a large percentage of the egos that drive, and aspire to drive, innovation, along with the egos that fund that drive, have lost touch with the society they claim to serve and, instead, bought into an attitude espoused by Donald Trump.
“And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
We would be better off if they would channel Sophocles, instead.
The company’s business model is unique, as it doesn’t just charge employers per customer, but it actually depends on the success of each individual to make money. Omada’s revenue is outcome based.
This means that client companies pay only when there are positive results and that’s a good thing.
Accomplishing it, however, can feel invasive.
Its flagship program, Prevent, is modeled around the National Institutes of Health study called the Diabetes Prevention Program and is designed to help participants modify their behavior and reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes.
The client company contracts with third-party organizations to identify those most at risk for at risk of diabetes or heart disease and enrolls them for intensive personal counseling.
The digital scale that each user gets, which is connected wirelessly to their Omada account, does daily weigh-ins to track their weight loss, as that is a good indicator of blood sugar and the risk of diabetes. Omada then gets paid based on the percentage weight loss that user has seen.
However, weight is not always an accurate indicator. Based on my lifetime weight I should be diabetic, have high blood pressure and likely a heart condition.
But I don’t.
In fact, I am amazingly healthy, always have been, and require no medication, whereas 85% of people my age are taking at least one prescription drug.
While Omada’s process would work for many people it feels invasive to me and if I were an employee I’d want to opt out of it.
So the real question here is not the value of the program offered, but whether the employer forces people to do it and penalizes them if they refuse.
Whether you were alive in 1984 or not, you’ve probably seen Apple’s Super bowl ad. It’s reshown almost every year and has been consistently voted the top-rated Super Bowl ad ever made, which is saying a lot.
When the ad was made women were on an upward trend and were respected members of the tech community — unlike now.
Watching the ad again last week I got to wondering.
If that ad were made today would the person throwing the hammer be a woman?
Or would it be the proverbial “twenty-something guy in a hoodie?”
Late one Friday night in early November, Jun Rekimoto, a distinguished professor of human-computer interaction at the University of Tokyo, was online preparing for a lecture when he began to notice some peculiar posts rolling in on social media. Apparently Google Translate, the company’s popular machine-translation service, had suddenly and almost immeasurably improved. Rekimoto visited Translate himself and began to experiment with it. He was astonished. He had to go to sleep, but Translate refused to relax its grip on his imagination.
It’s not a book, but it is a long article — long, fascinating and well worth your time to read.
Which is why this post is very short.
I sincerely hope you will take time to read both articles.