30 July 2008

Link: PowerPoint Ain't Killing People...

I remembered this awesome presentation about presentations while twittering.

61 slides, can be viewed in less than 5 minutes and you need to be a whole truckload of fries short of a happy meal not to get the message.
Lots of people are killing each other with bad presentations. NOW.

[via Lifehacker]

26 July 2008

TechTip: Who Is Getting Your Credit Card Information?

When sending credit card or other sensitive information through your browser, phishing is a serious problem. Maybe your browser is showing "https://www.mybank.com" in the address bar, but somebody else is getting the information.

This can be avoided very easily by just remembering to click somewhere. No degree in IT or installation of additional programs needed.

First, make sure that https is used (see the URL in the address bar), then check who owns the SSL certificate. Lets take for example https://mail.google.com.


Click the grey lock on the right of the web address and it should say:
"mail.google.com verified by Thawte Consulting".
Internet Explorer
Click the yellow lock on the right of the web address and select "view certificate". It should say:
"issued to: mail.google.com, issued by: Thawte SGC CA".
If it says "issued to criminals who want to steal your money", then something's wrong.

(Inspired by Bruce Schneier recommending to check SSL certificates in his article Man-In-The-Middle Attacks (15 July 2008). He uses the recent hostage liberation in Columbia to explain how a MITM attack works.)

24 July 2008

Link: Why Maternity Leave Can Be Bad For Your Career

Here's an excellent post called Maternity Leave Bad For Career.

Sonia mentions a new maternity law in the UK, explains why it doesn't help and thinks about better ways to handle maternity / paternity leaves.

Thanks Fleur for the link, you're still the best ;-)

New Job: Before The First Day

Lets imagine the following situation: you will start a new job next week and begin to realize what a big step this is for you. Maybe you feel like panicking: don't!

Here are a few tips that will help make your first day a success (and will keep you busy so you don't have time to worry).

1. Clothes
Maybe the dress code at your old company was more casual and you have only one business dress (which you were already wearing to both interviews). If your "nice" clothes were sitting in a closet for a couple of years:
  • check them for holes. Maybe you had hungry little guests.
  • do the chair test with your trousers. Maybe you put on a little weight? Put them on and sit down. If it doesn't hurt and the fabric doesn't tear, you passed.
  • are you sure you remember how to knot a tie? Want to find out Monday morning when you're nervous and already running late?
Don't wait until Sunday evening to realize that you should buy new clothes when all stores are closed.

2. Location
Of course you remember where the company is located. But when you went there for the interviews it was probably during the day, so no rush hour.
  • print a map with directions, it can't hurt.
3. Phone numbers
I work in HR, so I'm always in worst scenario mode. What if you have the hail storm of the century or a truck transporting weapons-grade plutonium has an accident and the road is closed for 5 hours? You shouldn't be late on your first day (or ever), but if push comes to shove, be ready to call ahead.
  • store the phone numbers of your boss and of the switchboard on your mobile phone
4. Ponctuality
Relax, there shouldn't be any hail and the dangerous trucks usually travel during the night. So you won't be late, period! The farther away you live from your place of work, the more you should arrive ahead of time (the farther away, the more possibilities to be held up).
  • be there early and walk a few times around the block. This will also calm your nerves. Or make you even more nervous, who knows?

And now you're finally ready to start your first day at the brand new job!

23 July 2008

ROWE: Some Like It, Others Not So Much

My friendly little duel with Our HR Guy Lance prompted some reactions.

Laurie, ever the ray of sunshine, is simply bored with ROWE and doesn't like the acronym. But she enjoys our back and forth.

Comments to Lance's post had links to some interesting articles:
  • Scott Semple at Semplicity thinks that the book sucks. He's actually completely trashing both the book and Cali & Jody, but what he says is definitely worth thinking about.
  • Mark Stelzner at Inflexion Point posted one article about ROWE in April 2007 and one about Alternative Work Schedules mentioning ROWE last May.
ROWE is new, controversial and crazy. So it's only natural that people react strongly to it. ROWE will be dead the day we stop talking about it, so keep on talking!

22 July 2008

YourHRGuy.com: Why HR Won't Support ROWE

Lance Haun at YourHRGuy.com wrote in reply to my recent post where I complained that HR Bloggers were ignoring the new ROWE book.

He explains why ROWE probably won't be supported by HR Professionals and explains at the same time why ROWE makes sense.

I'm wondering...
...if my dream comes true and ROWE becomes a huge success, will it happen thanks to open-minded and forward-thinking (non-HR) managers?
...and will HR be left behind because we missed the train... again?

Now go read Lance's post if you know what's good for you ;-)

ISAT: Free Online Test

J.T. O'Donnell from Career Insights offers her online ISAT (Interaction Style Assessment Test) for free.

I love tests that take less than 10 minutes to complete and with explanations that can be understood without using a dictionary.

Don't forget to mention your interaction style in the comments!

Me, I'm a Contemplator. Although I don't like that one of the typical areas for a Contemplator is Accounting, I can't really argue with the results ;-)

20 July 2008

I'm On Twitter

I've read many books and even more articles about personal productivity. And yet I joined Twitter.

Am I looking for more excuses to procrastinate? Did I lose my mind? Did I join out of professional interest to evaluate whether Twitter could be used to further HR's goals within a company?

None of the above (maybe number 2, a little bit...). I was simply invited and thought "what the heck, it might be fun".

Maybe I'll stop soon, maybe not. We'll see. In the meantime, you can follow my short ramblings (I think they're called "tweets") when not reading my long ones on this blog.

New ROWE Book: Ignored By HR Bloggers?

I've been gone for 2.5 months and I'm still catching up with hundreds of posts. So I searched for "ROWE" in my RSS reader.

Huge surprise: either I'm subscribing to the wrong feeds, Google Reader's search function is crap, or most HR Bloggers didn't hear about the new ROWE book or decided that it wasn't worth writing about.

I'm talking about "Why Work Sucks and How To Fix It" by Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson. The book about ROWE (Results-Only Work Environment).

Possibly HR's best and currently only chance to dramatically improve many workplaces using a revolutionary method that has so far generated proven results for several years at headquarters of a Fortune 100 company (including measurable increased productivity, less turnover and higher job satisfaction).

Of course, it's not that easy, nobody knows if it will really work in other companies (although a second (smaller) company has also implemented a ROWE) and it's incredibly difficult to convince management to go for it. But if this doesn't work, then what will? Maybe you're busy sitting on the expensive carpet in the hallway outside of the executive meeting room and still wait to be invited to sit at the table? If not this, then you must be waiting for the second coming!

Hah, that was fun. Now that I've finally managed to piss off the few remaining readers of this blog, lets finish "en beauté" with some boring statistics:

I'm currently subscribed to 111 feeds of which 47 are HR related (excluding comments and my own blog). Here are the results of above mentioned search:

Posts published in 2006 about or mentioning ROWE: KnowHR, YourHRGuy
Posts published in 2007 about or mentioning ROWE: KnowHR, YourHRGuy

Posts published in 2008:
  • Tim Ferriss, not an HR blogger, published an excerpt of the book and an interview with Cali & Jody (part 1 and 2)
  • Execupundit linked to and commented Ferriss' post. You can always count on Michael, and the new picture with the sunglasses is absolutely cool!
After the book was published:
What next? Read Caly & Jody's book page and start writing about ROWE. Whether you become an instant believer or not, I guarantee that it will generate interesting discussions.

I've been reading and thinking about ROWE for a couple of months now and no later than today I thought I had (again/finally) found a weakness in the ROWE system. Two minutes later I realized that I was wrong and it really makes sense!

19 July 2008

Blogger HR Wench Liveblogging from BlogHer08

HR Wench is using Twitter to liveblog from the blogger convention BlogHer08.

And who said HR professionals were too old-fashioned to use current technologies in an innovative way?

Wenchie, we're all so proud of you ;-)

18 July 2008

I'm not dead yet... no way!

Knock, knock...
Anybody still reading?
Executive summary:
I've been away, duh...
I'm back, sort of.
Lets see what happens.

I've added the exec summary since this post has become quite long and I prefer short articles. So if you want to keep on reading, you've been warned.

After more than 2 months of being AWOL, my brain is again buzzing with ideas and the only way to get rid of them is by writing them down.

I started a new job, went from a 30 minutes to a 2 hours daily commute and was absent from the web for almost 2 months. I also realized that getting to know a new company, a new job and new colleagues takes a lot of effort, time and energy. And I thought job hunting was tough...

2 weeks ago I started reading blogs again and tonight I managed to get the unread count in my blog reader to below 1'000 by tirelessly reading and ruthlessly marking as "read".

For the last 2-3 weeks I've been thinking about releasing an apology. After all, posting regularly is a bit like making a commitment to your readers. But on the other hand blogging is just a hobby of mine and I have a tendency to apologize too easily anyway. So as part of my ongoing personal development efforts I've decided not to apologize to my 8 or so faithful readers ;-)

But to prove the rule I'll make this exception:
Wenchie and Laurie, please accept my apologies for disappearing so suddenly and, worst of all, not replying to your emails.
When I had my first fit of AWOLism half a year ago these two ladies already tried to contact me asking if I was okay. This meant a lot to me back then and, oops, they did it again this time. After all, who would have thought that these crazy HR furies would worry about an underground blogger from the old continent ;-)

And also a big thank you to Buddy and Lil' World for mentioning that they missed my posts.

Now I've been thinking about approaching blogging more like a TV series, meaning that I might release a few episodes and then take a break again. So this post could be considered as the trailer. There may or may not be a pre-air episode soon and then 12 or 24 episodes until the fall break. Cool idea, eh?

Finally, here's what's been on my mind lately (besides the new job, listening 20'000 times to Linkin Park, Lenny Kravitz and Johnny Cash while commuting and planning my huge comeback):
  • Song: Beatsteaks - Hail To The Freaks
  • Song: Serj Tankian - Sky Is Over
  • TV series: Middleman
  • TV series: Dragon's Den
  • TV series: Ultimate Force
  • Mom and Dad
  • why is Colbert on vacation... again? And doesn't he care at all about my feelings of missing him?
  • Project: mobbing
  • Project: burn-out
  • which motor oil to use?
  • ROWE: I won an advanced copy of the book and kinda promised to write a review. Not done yet and not forgotten at all...
  • books: William Gibson's Sprawl Trilogy
  • book: David Allen's Getting Things Done (tip: re-read when starting a new job)
  • blogs: I'm not blond, don't (always) drink too much and am a little bit taller than Wenchie, yay!
  • blogs: lets save Laurie's prose for next weekend
  • blogs: Ferriss is still awesome
  • anime: the new Appleseed is soo cooool
  • why haven't my comics subscriptions arrived yet?
And don't forget: