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What can an organization do when it's best employees disengage?

I work for a large government agency where the "management cadre" is separate from the "professional cadre." Top- level professionals make as much or more than managers, at least up to the middle levels. More and more people are deciding to stay in their professional or "field" jobs, so managers are now coming from outside, with little substantive experience, and get overwhelmed almost immediately. When they founder, as is more often the case, there are few ambitious people under them looking for an opportunity to shine by taking on extra responsibilities, so they just keep chewing up the scenery. The fact that it is next to impossible to fire anyone at any level for any reason means there is little incentive for anyone to change, and the crappy economy means nobody wants to let go of a good salary, not to mention a great pension. Lather, rinse, repeat. Have you ever been part of this dynamic, and if so, how did you handle it? Have you ever seen an organization dig itself out once the situation got to that point? What constructive actions can the professionals in this scenario take, short of taking on responsibilities that don't belong to them ( and that they don't have the authority to carry out anyway)? [more inside]
posted by rpfields on Feb 2, 2014 - 6 answers

Places to work remotely in and around Sausalito

I'm visiting the Bay Area next week, and plan to work remotely from Sausalito. Where in Sausalito or the surrounding areas can I plant myself with my laptop, grab some wifi and VPN in to work for 4-6 hours without getting booted out? I'm more than happy to pay for food and beverages while I'm there. Someplace overlooking the water would be awesome, but not required. My point of origin with be on the Bridgeway, near Molly Stone's and the Post Office. I may or may not have a car, but I'm happy to bus it as far as Tiburon for the right place. Thanks!!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts on Jan 30, 2014 - 2 answers

How do you get difficult yet uninteresting tasks done?

I've noticed there are a lot of tasks at my company that are important and challenging, but not interesting or glamorous. Hiring and retaining personnel to complete such tasks seems to be a very hard problem. I wonder if there's any research or wisdom about how to approach such problems. Help me, hivemind. [more inside]
posted by Cogito on Jan 28, 2014 - 12 answers

Work health

Should I be contacting my Occupational Health clinic for an computer-related injury? [more inside]
posted by otherwordlyglow on Jan 28, 2014 - 10 answers

How I learned to stop worrying and love the workaday life

Any tricks, hacks, tips to get yourself out of bed and to work each day? [more inside]
posted by notcomputersavvy06 on Jan 28, 2014 - 27 answers

How to deal with a negligent micromanager

New job, restrictions that seem unreasonable. I love this job and I want to not get fired and not have to look for another job already. Hope me. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 27, 2014 - 13 answers

Help me help my retired mom find a part-time job!

My mom is a young 67 year-old retired teacher. Help me give her more ideas for a part-time job that uses her skills, Masters degree and 30+ years of experience! It's so hard watching her be so disheartened. :/ [more inside]
posted by carmenghia on Jan 25, 2014 - 17 answers

Unlocking Contracted Recurring Revenues to use for Debt Collateral

Every month my company sells roughly $15,000 worth of monthly recurring revenue contracts with five year term lengths. The service sells for $1,000 per month so every month we sign on 15 new customers. $15,000 * 12months * 5 years = $900,000 (total contract revenue for all 15 contracts sold during the month) We've maxed out our borrowing on physical assets held by the company and I need to find a way to unlock these revenue streams to use as collateral for further growth. What's the best way to do this? I would prefer to not have to go to every customer and amend their contracts in any way. Thanks!
posted by Paalen on Jan 24, 2014 - 16 answers

How do you deal with enraging inefficiency in your office job?

Working in an admin-heavy job, in a company which has no real systems. It's infuriating. How do I deal? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 23, 2014 - 15 answers

Horrible Former Employer Wants Me To Fill Out A W-9 ASAP?

Eight months ago I left a job at a horrible and horribly disorganized company. If it matters, there was some bad blood that I left. Today they have started calling and emailing me asking/begging/demanding that I fill out a W-9 for them ASAP. I don't trust that they aren't trying to screw me over. [more inside]
posted by Spurious on Jan 23, 2014 - 34 answers

Dealing with stress and comparmentalization.

Problems with the SO, family acting irrationally and Career in a turbulent state. Help me find a way of dealing with the stress! [more inside]
posted by perspicaturous on Jan 23, 2014 - 13 answers

Why can't we be friends (errr fellow permanent employees)???

I'm in a position where I'm currently a "temp to hire" -- I have been looking for a new job because of the uncertainty in my company and have interviewed with a different company who is moving me to the next step of their hiring process and gave me a hire date. I don't want to leave the company I'm currently with but feel I may have to if I'm not offered a permanent position. How do I bring this up to my boss? [more inside]
posted by camylanded on Jan 22, 2014 - 17 answers

1700 engineers to go, please

What are the legal and economic factors making it possible for companies in North America to engage in mass layoffs and to then invite former employees to apply for jobs at this same company, perhaps on less favourable terms for the former employees? (Bombardier's announcment of laying off 1700 employees is a Canadian example.) My naïve notion is that free trade has something to do with it – is this analysis correct, and if so, would pulling back from globalization help protect employees when labour laws appear to fail? Interested in opinions as well as papers, blogs, essays and books that a lay person could understand.
posted by cotton dress sock on Jan 22, 2014 - 11 answers

Job application anxiety and disappointment

At the beginning of this year I finished my courses and exams to become an emergency medical technician. I finally have the certification I that allows me to work in the field, but I’m fighting against paralyzing anxiety that’s making it hard to apply for jobs. This is something that I've struggled with the past, but the stakes feel a lot higher this time and I’m looking for advice on how to proceed. [more inside]
posted by arcolz on Jan 22, 2014 - 11 answers

How to get out of paying for a party

I work in a professional field that requires the passing of a series of exams to become credentialed. These take place over several years and are considered to be very difficult, taking months of study. My workplace hosts a bi-annual party after work to celebrate those that have passed their exams. The party requires that people pay $85 towards the party per exam passed in the past 6 months and $20 if they have not passed an exam (The money is required regardless of whether you plan to attend). This can become quite costly (I once passed multiple exams and was shocked that the fee was cumulative). However, people are expected to pay. I don't really enjoy parties, and $85 is a lot of money to me and I'm wondering if there's a way for me to politely decline without causing problems at work (i.e. being the one guy out of 60 that isn't contributing). Compounding this is the fact that significant raises typically follow when someone passes an exam, so the excuse "I can't afford it" might not work so well.
posted by Proginoskes on Jan 21, 2014 - 21 answers

Using metadata to search for artifacts

Are you aware of a book or paper that has insights into how one might go about searching for information about things or artifacts? [more inside]
posted by PHINC on Jan 19, 2014 - 4 answers

I love working here so much I'm planning on leaving!

Am I an asshole for saying, acting, and making plans as if I will be there forever while working on my strategy to leave in the next month? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 19, 2014 - 23 answers

How to cope with a difficult and unhappy job?

All week I have been feeling lost, unhappy, disappointed, confused, and trapped. [more inside]
posted by 8LeggedFriend on Jan 19, 2014 - 30 answers

bridging visa blah

How do I get a long-term job in Australia when HR won't get past my bridging visa? [more inside]
posted by divabat on Jan 17, 2014 - 19 answers

Phoney Baloney

Is there a device of some kind that will allow me to listen to music on my ear buds and still hear my desk telephone ringing? [more inside]
posted by BrianJ on Jan 17, 2014 - 11 answers

How to leave one job for another without burning bridges?

I've been at my current job for about 1 1/2 years. I like my job for the most part (not a dream job, but as far as corporate jobs go, pretty good). Recently, a co-work left. I got a call last week and she was wondering if I'd want to go work with her at a different company. It's a small company she's with now, which means I'd be a little higher in hierarchy and she said they're looking to expand. [more inside]
posted by yeahyeahyeah on Jan 16, 2014 - 9 answers

Reacting Emotionally to work

I'm a bit overwhelmed about how emotionally I am reacting to a situation at work. What are coping strategies I can use to deal with things tomorrow, and for the near short term. [more inside]
posted by larthegreat on Jan 16, 2014 - 20 answers

How to avoid spamming social media against my will?

My boss has asked all 8 of us employees to start liking/following/sharing our company's various pages and posts on all the social media platforms, and inviting our friends to do the same. (We have individual pages for each of our 4 products). I am vehemently against doing this, as are a couple others. The boss has tasked the most social media savvy employee amongst us to make sure the rest of us are complying. [more inside]
posted by Josephine Macaulay on Jan 16, 2014 - 34 answers

Need help navigating my next steps with my job

I'm unhappy, and I'm planning to leave this city as soon as I can get things straightened out. [more inside]
posted by winterportage on Jan 16, 2014 - 13 answers

How do I adjust my attitude on my once beloved job?

I loved my job. Now due to personnel changes I don't like it at all. I can't leave. How do I let go of what I once loved? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 16, 2014 - 10 answers

How can I get better at event planning, since I'm stuck doing it?

I have come to realize after attempting to plan my own wedding, and now landing two nonprofit jobs that involve some degree of event planning, that I hate it, and I am really bad at it. Since these are the jobs I have, how can I improve? [more inside]
posted by chaiminda on Jan 16, 2014 - 12 answers

Looking to pay (a nominal amt) for a reputable, quality resume service

Willing to pay (a non-exorbitant) fee for resume help. I have a (mostly positive) but really weird background. Some details inside, but more looking for any companies/services people have used that they were very happy with. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 16, 2014 - 4 answers

How to be supportive when you're really worried about the future?

My husband is miserable at his job and would like to change. This will likely mean a cut in our income and taking on more debt for him to go to school. How can I be more supportive when I worry about the change in our financial circumstances? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 15, 2014 - 48 answers

Help me understand how to deal with a guy I had a crush on at work

Help me understand how to deal with a guy I had a crush on at work [more inside]
posted by iamsuper on Jan 14, 2014 - 14 answers

Career counselor in the Seattle area?

I'm looking for a career counselor in the Seattle area, one with experience helping women returning to the workforce. I want someone to help me long-term with moving into a career I can love, probably at a nonprofit. Recommendations?
posted by The corpse in the library on Jan 14, 2014 - 3 answers

what kind of therapy or practice will help my work stress?

My new job is really stressful. The tools we use are slow, buggy, and unreliable; while the pace is frantic and the volume of the work is extremely high. During the day, my stress levels often rise to the point where I'm holding my breath and my heart is pounding, even though I'm just sitting there -- in fact, I'm often sitting there for hours at a time, because there's so much to do, I can't even get up and take a stretching break to calm down. I'd like to develop the ability to calm myself down quickly and reliably. Have you taught yourself to do this? How? [more inside]
posted by fingersandtoes on Jan 12, 2014 - 15 answers

Need a Boston-area job and feeling a bit stuck!

Hi! After many happy years as a nanny, I am now looking for a position in another field. I'm highly motivated and I have great references, but I'm at a bit of a loss. I really thrive when I feel like I can make someone's day or help them solve a problem or feel better. I'm very much a people person who enjoys making other people happy. What jobs are right for me, and where can I find them? [more inside]
posted by the young rope-rider on Jan 12, 2014 - 13 answers

Dust myself off? Okay, how?

At the age of 50-something, it appears that I've seriously failed at life. Some years ago, I left a stable and well-paid career for one that I thought would be more interesting. It did not work out. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 10, 2014 - 21 answers

Should I take a pay cut this early in my career?

I'm not happy at my job, but it pays fairly well for an entry level legal position. I've been offered another job that pays significantly less. I feel that I've already negotiated the salary as much as possible. What's my best move? [more inside]
posted by frizzle on Jan 9, 2014 - 22 answers

Married to our jobs, but seeing each other on the side

How do I avoid shop talk on dates? [more inside]
posted by Sara C. on Jan 8, 2014 - 34 answers

Stalker filter: I have a reasonable expectation of safey at work, right?

I have a reasonable expectation of safety at work, right? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 5, 2014 - 9 answers

Should I tell my boss about my miscarriage?

I was planning to tell my boss I was pregnant after the holidays. Unfortunately I underwent a delayed miscarriage at 13 weeks. I chose to go through the miscarriage naturally and it ended up happening over the Christmas holidays. I am physically almost completely better. I work for a startup and my boss is the CEO. Do I tell him what I have gone through when I return to work on Monday? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 5, 2014 - 37 answers

How to interview someone on camera? (Not for a job.)

Part of my job as a writer should be interviewing interesting people—tech types, fashion designers, musicians, etc. Except I get absolutely panicky when I do it. I have to fly overseas to interview three high-level dudes on camera this Thursday, and I'm already stage-frightey. I hate it. Google search terms, resources, tips, anecdotes, words of encouragement, hugs? [more inside]
posted by ulfberht on Jan 3, 2014 - 9 answers

How do you deal with racists you are in a position of power over?

In a professional capacity, I have to deal occasionally with racists that I am in a serious position of power over. I would like some ways that I can show that I do not approve of racist behavior, without treating these vulnerable people badly or reinforcing their racism. Please help! [more inside]
posted by corb on Jan 3, 2014 - 37 answers

What's the division of labour in web development?

I want to start doing freelance web work, but I'm not sure what I'd like to specialise in. I'm competent with python, PHP, html, css, javascript and angular as well as doing designy things like UX and photoshop. Previously I've always built whole websites from start to finish and now I'd like to pick a particular element and develop my skills to professional level in that role, but I'm not sure how it breaks down and how the size of the company/project increases the numbers of roles.
posted by awesomathon on Jan 3, 2014 - 5 answers

98...99...100. Whew! All done!

Looking for movie scenes like the following:
  1. Person is supposed to be doing a task but isn't.
  2. Authority figure enters.
  3. Person acts like they're just finishing the task.
[more inside]
posted by klausman on Jan 2, 2014 - 17 answers

I don't enjoy hanging out with women.

I AM a woman. I don't generally like hanging out with women. Suggestions? [more inside]
posted by skbw on Dec 31, 2013 - 75 answers

Job application, not sure what to do.

For job applications, what should I do about a few months long job where I was terminated after being moved between projects? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Dec 30, 2013 - 7 answers

Int student finishing MFA, possibly obtain one-year working pass...

I'm a semester away from finishing my MFA in San Francisco and I'm looking for advice on how to start job-searching especially as a (about to be former) international student. [more inside]
posted by divabat on Dec 28, 2013 - 3 answers

How do I figure out workplace culture...as a job-seeker?

I'm currently employed, but looking for a new position, due in part to cultural aspects of my current job that are a bad fit. How do I figure out the culture of a prospective employer without dooming my candidacy? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Dec 28, 2013 - 15 answers

Help me crush this crush!

I'm married, with a kid. I work in the service industry. I have a powerful, consuming crush on my boss, who is also in a serious relationship. I used to be his boss, and we have a very friendly and candid relationship. I really, really need to not feel this way anymore. If I try to back off and go professional, he always asks what is wrong and it sucks me right back in. How do I make it stop?
posted by hopemeplease on Dec 25, 2013 - 23 answers

My friend doesn't want to be an admin assistant anymore

One of my good friends has been an administrative assistant for the past few years and is getting depressed and burnt out. What types of jobs can he get with his skills? [more inside]
posted by reenum on Dec 21, 2013 - 14 answers

I don't know how she does it! .....no really, please tell me...

As I mentioned in this question, I'm a single mom of an 8 month old. My question in a nutshell is, how in the hell do working single parents do it? [more inside]
posted by argyle dreams on Dec 17, 2013 - 23 answers

Tell me how to ask my work whether I get paid during holiday

Just shy about it and want to minimize awkwardness [more inside]
posted by winterportage on Dec 16, 2013 - 29 answers

Depression vs. IUD

I've been dealing with depression for years. I can't tell if it's worse because of my birth control. Help? [more inside]
posted by themaskedwonder on Dec 15, 2013 - 11 answers

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