Life is funny. I can look at an image and see one thing. But another person can look at the same image and see something else. A number of years ago, my father bought a Trans Am. It was a silly car, but he liked it. It was also small. The first time my grandparents saw the car, they were horrified and started (literally) shoving $1 and $5 bills in my pants pockets as well as my brother's pockets and my mother's handbag. Why? The car was small. My grandparents perceived a small car to be an inexpensive car and thus, we were facing family financial challenges and required their loose change - immediately.
I have to tell you that I don't know how much a Pontiac 1977 Trans Am Special Edition cost, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't an inexpensive car. However, to my immigrant grandparents, it looked like a cheap car.
Funny isn't it? How our perspective can mold our reality. Therefore, I thought it was only fitting that this month's newsletter would focus on some myths both in the workplace and out. Enjoy!
The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division will host a free webinar on June 27 at 2 p.m. EDT to help workers and employers understand the Family and Medical Leave Act. The department also has prepared a 16-page booklet, available online, that explains the FMLA and answers common questions.
The webinar will give workers and employers a chance to submit questions that will be answered by an FMLA expert from the department. Workers and employers who wish to participate can register at this link.
Employment attorney Laura Rubenstein and psychologist Dr. Michael Heitt will host a webinar on Tuesday, July 17 at 12:00pm titled: Dealing with the Disruptive Professional: An Alternative to Termination.
The webinar's objective is to provide a legal and psychological perspective of how to deal with loud, arrogant and intimidating employees.
Supreme Court Decides That Pharmaceutical Sales Reps are Exempt
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay employees overtime wages, but the requirement does not apply with respect to workers employed "in the capacity of outside salesman," §213(a)(1).
In Christopher v. Smithkline Beecham Corp., pharmaceutical sales representatives filed suit, alleging that SmithKline violated the FLSA by failing to compensate them for overtime. However, the company argued that they were "employed in the capacity of outside salesman," §213(a)(1), and therefore were exempt from the FLSA's overtime compensation requirement.
Pharmaceutical companies promote their products to physicians through pharmaceutical sales representatives who try to persuade physicians to write prescriptions for the products in appropriate cases. Pharmaceutical sales representatives are compensated with a base salary and incentive pay. The sales representatives who filed this particular suit earned $72,000 and $76,000 and were expected to work an additional 10-20 hours a week as part of their overall responsibilities.
The Department of Labor (DOL) argued that the employees should not be outside salesman as the job does not actually involve a sales transaction but rather the commitment to prescribe a drug.
Through several appeals, the case reached the Supreme Court, which decided on June 18th, in a 5-4 decision that the representatives did indeed meet the test of outside salesman and are therefore not entitled to overtime pay.
Exhausted After a Family Vacation
People don't usually enjoy the idea of getting back to work after a vacation. But one group of employees actually looks forward to it.
Parents. They are often exhausted after being full-time nannies, swim or snow board instructors, drivers, and entertainment directors. And they have spent a lot of money.
No need to feel guilty about being glad when spring break or summer vacation is over. No matter how much you love them, taking care of the kids is a difficult, unpredictable, 24-hour job. There is no quitting time.
Viewing the vacation dilemma from another angle, a professor of leisure studies at Penn State University says the idea that leisure is pleasing and work is not, is patently false. And the idea of shared family leisure is a myth. In most cases, as soon as kids are old enough, they split apart from the family at amusement parks and resorts.
One manager quoted in The Wall Street Journal says at work there is at least a hierarchy. At home, he claims he is in sixth place behind his wife, two kids, and two dogs.
Family vacations can be defeated by expectations that are too high. One kid gets sick, another gets testy, and everyone decides they don't really like the resort. Work is predictable, but vacations are not.
All that having been said, it's time to plan your annual vacation with the family. Decide ahead of time that you will enjoy it no matter what happens, and you could just end up having a great time.
And you'll probably be glad to get back to work when it's over.
Get Real, Get Better: Do One Thing at a Time
There's only one reason multitasking is not a four-letter word: It has 12 letters. In spite of that, it's a word that has developed a bad reputation.
Not long ago, workers were proud that they could talk on the phone and read email at the same time. But people they were talking to knew they weren't paying full attention, and relationships were tarnished.
In his book, The Myth of Multitasking: How 'Doing it All' Gets Nothing Done, author Dave Crenshaw says technology has evolved, but the brain has not. It still does one thing at a time, rapidly switching back and forth. Each switch makes it less-effective at both tasks.
When people work on two things at once, they often have to retrace their steps in order to correct mistakes. No time saved there.
Edward Hallowell, MD and attention deficit specialist says it's like playing tennis with two balls. Your game is not as good as it would be with one ball.
Talking on a cellphone while driving is one of the worst multitasks. Studies show it takes longer to get where you're going. It's dangerous, and in unfamiliar territory, you could take a wrong turn and get lost. It's hard enough to drive and check the GPS at the same time.
Debunking Health Myths
The British Medical Journal has compiled a list of studies debunking commonly held beliefs. Among them:
- A 35-year study shows no increase in suicides during or after the holidays.
- Researchers at Indiana University say there is no evidence that poinsettias are poisonous for people or animals.
- Several studies show that children who consume large amounts of sugar are no more hyperactive than those who don't, though parents think they are.
- Not wearing a hat does not result in excessive loss of body heat.
- Eating at night will not cause you to gain more weight than eating the same foods during the day.
- There is no cure for a hangover.
"There's a myth that time is money. In fact, time is more precious than money. It's a nonrenewable resource. Once you've spent it, and if you've spent it badly, it's gone forever."
"Many of the things you can count, don't count. Many of the things you can't count, really count."