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Things Your Boss Won't Tell You
by Catey Hill
Friday, January 14, 2011[pic]
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1. 'Yes, we are reading your emails… and your IMs.'

Like many financial services firms, Wedbush Securities monitors the daily emails, instant messages and social networking activity of its 1,000-plus employees, says Mattias Tornyi, the company's Director of IT.They use an email monitoring software to flag certain types of messages and keywords within messages, he says. Every day, they end up reading 5% to 10% of the messages employees send.

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That's fairly extensive, but many firms are, at the very least, monitoring some of employees' Internet, phone and email use, especially larger companies and those in sensitive or heavily regulatedindustries. The market for email monitoring software has grown more than 25% each year since 2008 and is projected to reach $1.23 billion in 2013, according to IT market research firm Gartner; more than one in three large U.S. companies employ actual people to read or analyze employee email, according to a 2010 study by email monitoring firm Proofpoint. Plus, a survey by the American ManagementAssociation and The ePolicy Institute found that almost half of the small, medium and large companies surveyed monitored phone use, and two out of three monitored web use. Instant-message and text-message monitoring are also increasing, says Stephen Marsh, chief executive of email archiving firm Smarsh.

[See How Privacy Vanishes Online]

Not only do employers watch what you're doing, but many acton what they find. One in five large U.S. companies fired an employee for violating email policies in the past year, the Proofpoint survey found. What was a fireable offense? Most email investigations pertain to issues of employees leaking sensitive, confidential or embarrassing information, or theft — not racy messages sent to a girlfriend from an office email account or the occasional onlineshopping binge from the corporate desktop.

2. 'You're too old for this.'

When Joyce Kalivas-Griffin, 57, saw a job opening at a private school nearby, she immediately sent in her resume. She was hopeful — the description matched her skills almost perfectly — but heard nothing. Then, she noticed that the job had been posted again, so she tweaked her resume to obscure her age and resubmitted it.This time, the school called her in for an interview. Kalivas-Griffin says she nailed it, but she didn't get the job: She believes that when the interviewer met her and realized she's no 30-something, her age tipped the scales against her.

Kalivas-Griffin will never know for sure, but as the workforce gets grayer, age bias is likely to increase, experts say. Roughly 25% of employers said theywere reluctant to hire older workers, according to a 2006 survey by the Center on Aging and Work at Boston College, and after looking at only a resume, employers discriminated against women they perceived to be 50 or older, according to a 2007 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. It's a trend, experts say, that's gotten worse in the recession, as evidenced by the latest data from theLabor Department: laid-off workers 55 and older spent an average of 35 weeks looking for work, compared with 30 weeks for 25 to 54 year-olds. "We know it's very prevalent," says Laurie McCann, a senior attorney with AARP Foundation Litigation. "The problem is that people often don't know it's happening, because of the nature of applying for jobs." In a world of online applications, you never...
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