Weekly Wrap: Bad Bosses, Dissing Federal Workers, and 85,000 Applicants

Anytime you get into a listing of the “best of” or “the worst of,” you know that the list is going to be highly subjective, frequently shortsighted, and sometimes silly and foolish.

So it is with Time magazine’s ranking of the “Top 10 Worst Bosses,” which is left over from last week’s hype and over coverage of National Boss Day. It’s a list that is certainly open to debate because frankly, it looks like the product of someone who simply walked around the room and got top-of-the-head nominations for the “worst bosses” from the first few people he or she happened to bump into.

Just about any serious HR pro could come up something better — like this list from the New York Daily News that is much larger and more inclusive – because there are so many bad bosses we could talk about. From my experience, there are many more bad ones in this world (like Randy Michaels and Sam Zell, who were in the news this week for their managerial shenanigans over at media giant Tribune), so the trick is to come up with the bosses who truly can take the concept of bad and turn it into an art form.

Tell me about “the worst boss you ever had”

And that leads to my first Weekly Wrap reader participation contest: Tell me about the worst boss you ever had. I want to know what they did and why it was so bad — in 150 words or less. Send your nominations here to me at john@tlnt.com. The winner will get one of the latest management books off my bookshelf.

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Just in case you have some trouble getting warmed up to this topic, I’m including a video here from Stanford professor Bob Sutton, author of “The No Asshole Rule” talking about his latest book. “Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best … and Learn From the Worst.”

There’s more than bad bosses in the news, of course, and here are some other workplace-related news items you may have missed this week. Yes, this is a weekly round up of news, trends, and all sorts of information from the world of HR and talent management. I do it so you don’t have to.

  • Telecommuting is booming in Atlanta. Who would have thought that stately Atlanta would turn out to be a place where telecommuting is thriving? The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says that “an estimated 300,000 metro Atlanta telecommuters who skip their road trips to the office at least twice a week. Apart from Coca Cola, there are hundreds of other companies providing diverse workplace opportunities for workers with and without the state’s tax credit.” Why Atlanta, you might ask? Incentives might play a big role. The state of Georgia “offers up to $20,000 in tax credits to employers who participate in its Telework tax-credit program, but also, Metro Atlanta is second most wired region in the country, “and it has one of the most painful commutes’’ — an average of 72 minutes each way.”
  • No respect for federal workers. A new Washington Post poll found that “more than half of Americans say they think that federal workers are overpaid for the work they do, and more than a third think they are less qualified than those working in the private sector.” And the negativity seems to break down strongly along party lines. “In the new Post survey, 52 percent of Americans think that federal civil servants are paid too much, a view held by nearly two in three Republicans and about seven in 10 conservatives. Far fewer Democrats, independents, liberals and moderates hold this opinion. Overall, among Americans, one in 10 of those polled say federal workers should be better compensated.”
  • How one company is dealing with health care. Wonder how businesses are dealing with the rising price of health care and the new federal mandates they’re facing under Obamacare. Well here’s how one big company is dealing with all of it. According to the Seattle Times, “Boeing will require 90,000 nonunion workers to pay significantly more for their health plan next year…For the affected employees, deductibles — the share of medical costs that employees pay annually before their plan kicks in — will go up to $300 for individuals, an increase of $100. For families, the new deductible will be $900, an increase of $300. In addition, Boeing is instituting a co-payment of 10 percent after the deductible has been met. The co-payment will rise to 20 percent in 2012.” In addition, a Boeing spokeswoman says “the company intends to try to make the new plan the norm also for union workers as contract talks come up with each union.”
  • 85,000 apply for 1,000 positions. Just so you don’t forget how tough it is for so many to find a job, here comes a reminder from this week’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “More than 85,000 people have applied for jobs as Delta Air Lines flight attendants since the Atlanta carrier announced two months ago that it planned to hire … The company began interviewing candidates this week and will continue at about a 90-a-day pace through the end of the year.” According to the story “the jobs pay $1,746 a month during training. At top scale with 12 years of seniority, Delta flight attendants make about $41,000 a year if they work an average of 75 hours a month.” A spokesperson for Delta, in what must be a candidate for the understatement of the year, said, “With all these applicants we have the opportunity to pick the best of the best.”

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of TLNT.com. A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and workforce.com, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at johnhollon@ere.net, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.