The Future Belongs to Google

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It’s no surprise that technology has helped and will continue to help shape our lives and our work place. With tech giants like Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and Google the advancements in technology are numerous and continue to alter how we operate in our daily lives. But which of these companies does the future really belong to? Mudit Kakkar, Engineer, analyst and writer believes that it rests in the hands of Google.

Google has an uncanny ability to know where we are and what we plan to do next. What started as a simplistic search page has spawned a democratization of the Internet. While Google doesn’t always produce the best possible product right from the gates, they will go back, hone it and turn version 1.0 into a relic. Google is talented when it comes to changing interfaces and adapting its services. By constantly changing, tweaking and fine-tuning its products, Google is able to remain relevant. Kakkar says that Google doesn’t wait for something to break before finding a resolution and believes that the company operates under the unspoken mantra that prevention is better than cure. It is this continuous improvement that Kakkar believes separates the company from others that are struggling to stay on the map.

While excellent software or hardware design was always an honor reserved for Apple, in 2011 Google made the decision to rival the company. CEO, Larry Page presented a vision of a revamped Google and put his design team to work, an approach that continues to drive the company. Acquiring companies like Android, and other seemingly offbeat products allows Google to expand its horizons while continuing to sharpen existing products. Google continues to remain hard at work to make our lives easier, more connected and rather enjoyable. Beyond striving to set itself apart from its competitors, Google has happy employees, fosters innovation and continues to grow.  Google’s willingness to take on off-the-wall projects, such as Google Glass, driver-less cars, and robots, and continue to perfect its current products, is what makes them the harbingers of tomorrow.

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Can Handwriting Reveal Job Aptitude?

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You may want to start practicing your cursive. Recently, many handwriting experts, called graphologists, are claiming that millions of people can be denied jobs based on what their handwriting reveals about their personality and aptitude for the job.

Graphology is the practice of determining aspects of a person’s personality and mental status from their handwriting. Do you write with a forward slant? That’s the sign of an outgoing personality. Think you have a back problem? Take a look at your descending letters (such as j, g or y) to see if there is a break. As neat as it may sound to have your handwriting analyzed by a graphologist, is there any actual validity to the practice of judging a person for job aptitude based on their handwriting?

Graphologists believe that a page or two of handwriting can help distinguish an accountant from a chef, and a go-getter from a lazy person. There is after all a stereotype when it comes to doctor’s writing, right? Most critics of the practice claim that any success in job placement based on graphology can easily be explained away. Scott Lilienfield, author of 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology, points out the contents of a handwritten application letter can be full of biographical information which can predict job performance. In addition, he states that often by the time a graphologist has received an application to review it has already been through some sort of process that eliminated the bad apples and landed it into a pool of people who are qualified for the job.

For the most part the use of graphology and other odd hiring practices is marginal, so there is no need to start perfecting your writing now. Continue to work on building your resume and gaining valuable work experience and you should be one step closer to finding the right job for you.

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Music at Work

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According to the digital music service, Spotify, 61% of people stream music during the workday with 36% saying that it’s what gets them through their 9-5. Finding that one thing that can get you through the day just a little faster and with a bit more enthusiasm is important, but we have to make sure it isn’t at the expense of others. Gigats took a look at proper work-place music etiquette and the rules for whistling while you work.

Everyone has varying tastes in music. One persons’ motivational jam can sound like nails down a chalkboard to another. Remember to keep the volume low if you work in an open space without walls. Spotify reported that 10% of respondents admit to judging a co-worker based on their choice of music, so make sure you aren’t listening to anything loud enough that you wouldn’t want others to hear. Also, we all have that tune that just makes us want to get up and dance, but try your best not to tap or hum along to a song as it can create an unwanted distraction.

Where and when you wear your headphones is an equally as important factor. Try not to wear your headphones 24/7- it can create isolation and make it difficult for co-workers to communicate with you. Make sure that your music doesn’t become a higher priority than your co-workers. If someone comes to your desk, remove both of you ear phones and devote your full attention to avoid sending the signal that you are only partially listening. You should also never wear your ear phones away from your desk. It doesn’t matter if you are just going down the hall to make a copy, if you are going to step away from your desk you should leave your head phones behind.

Another helpful tip for keeping the office peace when it comes to music is to try to attain a group consensus. Have a conversation regarding the company policy and don’t hesitate to ask your co-workers if they mind if you listen to music while you work. If you all decide to play music out loud, the safest bet is to stick with mainstream music or to compromise- classical music one day, pop hits the next.

Maintaining the office harmony doesn’t mean you need to give up your music. Just make sure that you follow these basic music etiquette practices to ensure the best office surroundings for everyone.

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Building a Resume

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Building a strong resume is important for your job search, and recently job seeker, Leah Bowman, landed herself in the news for taking the task literally. When a potential employer asked Bowman for a persuasive advertisement she looked to a large part of her childhood to help her out- Legos.

Using her graphic design skills and love for the buildable blocks, Bowman used the Lego Digital Designer to create a brick version of herself.  The Lego Brick version came complete with assembly instructions that highlighted Bowman’s skills, creativity and initiatives.

Bowman’s inspiration for building the Lego version of herself stemmed from her frustration with the boring application process. Bowman stated that it’s easy to be edged out by competition, so she wanted to find something that had a little more “umph” than just a regular resume.

It is becoming more common for individuals to mix up the standard resume. Whether it’s implementing a QR code, or creating witty advertisements writing a resume has never been more fun. How do you think Bowman’s resume stacked up against the competition?

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Americans are Ditching PTO

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According to a recent survey run by Harris Poll , American employees who receive paid time off use only 51% of it, on average. Why are Americans leaving money on the table in the form of unused time off and scrapping the Caribbean Cruise? Job security. Employees aren’t taking time off that they have earned due to their concern for keeping their job. While 44% of employees believe that it is likely they could find another job in 6 months if they lost their job, the remaining 56% aren’t as confident.

The 51% of the paid time off that we are taking isn’t directly resulting in a traditional vacation, either. Employees are using time off to accomplish other things, like the 11% who reported that they used it to interview for another job. Another 61% report that they still did some work while they were away from the office. Due to the growth of technology, it is difficult to fully “vacate” our work for a couple of weeks. We are finding that just one full day away from work is a luxury, but more than that feels like a hassle.

While 25% of Americans still report taking all of their eligible time off, it is becoming evident that the word “vacation” doesn’t mean what it did in the past in the eyes of employers and employees. The good news is that 85% of Americans who receive paid vacation or time off took at least some of it in the past 12 months- but clearly there is room to take more.

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Mad Men Workplace Policies

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Our favorite show about the Ad Man we hate to love is coming back for its final season this weekend. The first half of the seventh and final season of Mad Men returns this Sunday on AMC. The next season of Mad Men will focus on Don Draper grappling with a new decade and some of our other favorite characters, like Peggy Olsen, taking control and figuratively “wearing the pants.” Throughout the course of the show Peggy Olsen has represented the changing face of women at work.  Peggy began as a naïve, demure secretary to the smooth-talking Don Draper and has developed into a force to be reckoned with, taking Draper’s job as Creative Director- but like many women today, she still faces her challenges.  In January, during the State of the Union Address, Obama discussed doing way with work place policies that “belong in a Mad Men episode.” Citing the gender pay gap, he discussed changing policies that disadvantage women. Here at Gigats, we couldn’t help but think of the ways that businesses can venture out of the Mad Men era, change workplace policies and keep women at work.

Aside from the obvious suggestion of closing the wage gap in which women earn .77 cents to every dollar that a man earns, there are several things that can be done to allow working women to become even more successful. Currently, there is a concept of an “up-or-out” culture; a woman or man with strong credentials is punished for choosing not to move up a corporate ladder. For working mothers, this is a large source of frustration. They desire to continue to contribute and add value to a company and are content with remaining “in the middle” for the sake of their family or other outside reasons. Changing the concept that you must move up to be successful would provide everyone with more options in the work place. Another way to do away with Mad Men work policies, would be to provide varying benefits, including offering housework, elder care assistance for employers with care-giving responsibilities, providing flexible work hours, and offering paid sick time and paid parental leave.  Women spend approximately 30% more time on housework and childcare than men do. Additionally, the average caregiver for elderly parents is a 49-year-old working woman. Benefits that guarantee assistance in the home free up the opportunity for individuals with significant responsibilities outside of the workplace to focus more on their career.

There is evidence to support the fact that women at work, and in leadership roles, yield positive results for families, business, the economy and society. Just watch an episode of Mad Men this season and you’ll find yourself cheering for the confident, successful women who have grown into dominant roles. While typewriters and 8am Old Fashions have pretty much been done away with, there is still room to rid ourselves of work place policies that should have been left in a different decade.

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Work Day Stress

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It could be your daily commute or your work load, your coworkers or a poor work-life balance. Regardless of the source, it’s likely you experience work-induced stress. Not to worry, you aren’t alone. A recent survey found that approximately 8 out of 10 Americans are stressed by at least one aspect of their jobs.

The Work Stress Survey, headed by Everest College and conducted by Harris Interactive, found that there were varying sources for our headaches at work. Harris interviewed 1,004 adults 18 years and older and asked them to name their biggest stressor. The top two stressors on the list were low pay, and that pesky daily commute. Following close behind were other factors, including a heavy work load, annoying coworkers, the inability to advance, and overwhelming bosses.

Wendy Cullen, vice president of employer development at Everest, advises that employees should take control of their own situation and pursue new skills if they are becoming too worn down by their daily work stress. The research conducted falls in sync with Stress Awareness Month and was completed in hopes that employers will use the results to make improvements in the workplace.

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Raising Minimum Wage

The recent conversation taking place in regards to minimum wage has been rampant across the national news recently. It has become evident that the momentum to raise minimum wage is growing. States and Cities are taking action; Connecticut increased it to $10.10 by 2017 and Washington D.C. raised it to $11.50. Senate Democrats plan to introduce legislation to raise the national minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour. Everyone seems to be joining the conversation and making suggestions, but Robert Reich, a professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley argues that there is still a need for us to be more ambitious.

Reich argues that while $10.10 is a great step forward, the federal minimum wage should be $15.00 an hour. He outlines seven reasons why the number should be increased citing economic and moral motives. Reich begins by pointing out that if the minimum wage of 1968 had stayed even with inflation, it would be more than $10 an hour today. Adding in the point that a typical worker today is about twice as productive as then, he argues that productivity gains should go to workers at the bottom. Reich also mentions the problem that has been most apparent and publicized- $10.10 just isn’t enough to lift workers and their families out of poverty. He rivals the counterargument that $15 would result in major job loss by highlighting that it would put money in the pockets of low-wage workers, providing working families and the overall economy a boost, and creating jobs. In Reich’s final argument he notes that 95% of all economic gains are going to the top 1%. He believes that raising the minimum wage isn’t just good politics or smart economics, but that it is the morally correct thing to do.

View the video below to learn more about Robert Reich’s push for a higher minimum wage:

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Gigats Odd Job: Hot Dog Vendor

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It comes as no shock that CEOs, doctors and lawyers often make the big bucks. What does come as a surprise though is the $100,000 a year income that a busy Hot Dog Vendor in New York may earn. That’s right; a successful Hot Dog Vendor can earn as much as $100,000 a year in a busy area!

Forbes compiled a list of ten unusual jobs that pay surprisingly well and one of the most surprising on the list was a Hot Dog Vendor. Walking down a busy street in a big city, it would never occur to you the earning potential of those simple little carts. Abigail Gehring, Author of the book Odd Jobs: How to Have Fun and Make Money In a Bad Economy, saw firsthand how successful a Hot Dog Vendor could be. In her book she shares her experience growing up as the daughter of the “Hot Dog Man.” Her father earned enough money to put four kids through college by operating a cart in a True Value parking lot in her home town. While not every Hot Dog Vendor is able to earn $100,000 a year on a busy New York City street, most are able to earn between $30,000 to $80,000 in less trafficked areas. In her book, Abigail notes that her father’s (and others like him) ability to make a good income from an unusual job required creativity, diligence and the willingness to take risks.

Can you see yourself working in an odd job like this one? See what non-traditional and traditional positions are available at Gigats.com.

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Worst CEOs to Work For

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At Gigats we provide job seekers with the tools to make smart decisions about where to work and the best opportunity to find a job that fits their interests. We know that there are several elements that make a career enjoyable including what you do, where you do it, and as equally important, who you do it for. In a recent poll, more than two-thirds of American employees approve of their companies’ chief executive officers. But what about the other 33.3%?

According to independent research performed by 24/7 Wall St. there are a number of CEOs who could take note of their employee’s negative reviews. At nine major companies, 40% or fewer employees gave their CEOs positive reviews. The research identified a number of factors that have hurt the CEO’s reputations including the CEO’s likelihood to humiliate the company publicly, poor management of the company, layoffs and related cuts, and an excessive compensation package.

Glassdoor spokesperson Scott Dobroski, also noted that there is a relationship between the overall rating of a company and CEO approval.  Employees provide ratings of less than 3 out of 5 for their companies run by unpopular CEO’s. On the other hand, CEO’s with positive ratings result in higher overall company scores.

Do you think the opinion of a CEO affects job happiness and overall company ratings?

Are you looking for a new company to work for? Gigats.com provides personalized job-matches based on your interest!

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