Sunday, February 15, 2009

Book: Plugged In: The Generation Y Guide to Thriving at Work

Yes, the title sounds kind of gimmicky, but I heard about this book on NRP's Marketplace . . . and a mention on NPR lends anything quite a bit of clout with me, so I decided to pick up this book for some weekend reading.

Tamara Erickson's book is geared toward Y-Generation members who are soon to enter (or have recently entered) the workforce. The book is very approachable and can be read casually over a weekend. In the initial chapters, she defines what it means to be a member of the Traditionalist, Baby-Boomer, X and Y generations and describes the events that shaped each generation's perceptions during its formative years.

She then continues to describe how these differences play out in a work context, notably pointing out that Y-ers think about work as something they do, not somewhere they go. (I've commented before about asynchronous work, something that she seems to agree that the Y Generation is naturally able to do.) Other points of discussion include: relationships with parents, competitiveness, attitudes toward money and our natural ability to use technology.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone under the age of 25 who is entering the workforce; it was written to help Ys understand how the working world works and I feel that it accomplishes this very nicely. Additionally, I think that this book is worth a look for those who work with Ys on a regular basis . . . we do need to learn to work with you, but you need to learn to work with us, too. :-)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sick Days

CNN recently posted a piece entitled: “Don’t go to work if you’re sick – please!”

My mother and I probably disagree on this strongly; she prides herself on only having taken 2 sick-days during her 25+ year career as a nurse, whereas I take the view that you should stay home whenever you’re feeling under-the-weather, so that you don’t infect your colleagues.

In my view, the best sick-day policy is as follows:

  1. If you’re sick, we don’t want you infecting the rest of us, so you get the day off, free.
  2. Don’t abuse #1.

This is more-or-less the policy that John Deere IVS uses for sick days. (If you’re sick for more than 3 days, I believe that you must either go on short-term disability leave or take vacation. This policy deincentivizes coming to work sick. Of course, it requires a bit of trust in your employees . . . but if you don’t trust your employees, why are you still their employer?

What is your employer’s sick leave policy?