In the Career Management blog, I post pieces about four times a week. More often than not, those posts spur discussions among members that are extremely compelling. The year 2010 was no exception. Here are the top five Career Management discussions and the number of posts each one generated:
- Workplace sexism: Glass ceilings are supported by glass walls
- What can private corporations do to employees? Just about everything
- Would you be a whistleblower?
- CEO exercises controversial recruitment strategy: Low advertised pay
- More people are losing their jobs due to online missteps
The Career Management post that garnered the most discussion in 2010 was, not surprisingly, about women in the workplace.
When I wrote "Workplace sexism: Glass ceilings are supported by glass walls," I expected to hear a lot of rebuttal from the men in the audience, along the lines of, "This is in your imagination," or "women just have to toughen up." What I didn't expect, and what just blew my socks off, was the common sentiment expressed that women are just going to have to live with the fact that they're sexual objects to men.
First of all, I apologize for that "blew my socks off" remark because I now realize that I inadvertently created a mental image of naked feet and the guys who argued so vehemently against my blog will not be able to concentrate now. I'll wait while you go splash cold water on your faces.
Okay, are you back? I will try mightily to stay away from anatomy references going forward — I know how easily you are distracted. Darn it! Did I just say the word "anatomy"? When will I ever learn?
My "favorite" comments from those who disagreed with me included:
"A woman's desire to 'just be respected' is naive at best. Women, the point is that its not all about you. You pose a risk to males in the work place. Your demands for "respect" create a potentially hostile or dangerous environment for men, in their eyes. They are acting in a self-preserving manner."
"It's time women should take notice of reality: women are sexual objects to men. That's just how we're made."
"To put it in plain language — men don't really "like" women (except for sex), and would rather be around other men. Men aren't about to change (nor do I see any reason they should). Women are going to start changing their behavior and attitude."
Some of my favorite rebuttals to the above types of statements included:
"I own my own business and if any, ANY, person in my employ said this, they would be out on their ass. If you're not adult enough to practice restraint, then may be you should to go to eBay and buy a clue."
"I was going to suggest lobotomy, but it would appear to be redundant."
What can private corporations do to employees?
The second most discussed post was "What can private corporations do to employees? Just about everything." In this blog, I talked about a book by Lewis Maltby in which he talks about how private corporations can fire someone for almost anything. What followed was a very interesting discussion from members concerning what corporations can and can't do.
I wrote "Would you be a whistleblower?" in light of steps being taken by the SEC to make it easier (through financial motivation) for employees in the financial sector to report evidence of malfeasance and fraud in their companies. This was followed by another outstanding, multi-layered discussion. Some people talked about what happened to their own lives when they did blow the whistle. Others questioned the morality of giving monetary bonuses for whistle blowing.
Controversial recruitment strategy
In "CEO exercises controversial recruitment strategy: Low advertised pay," I wrote about Ben Huh, CEO of icanhascheezburger.com, who spoke of his belief that you get the best employees for a job by advertising that job with low pay. When I laid this out for our community, there was lots of debate for and against this stand, including whether the practice was actually legal.
It seems like 2010 was filled with examples of employees losing their jobs over tweets or Facebook postings. When I wrote about this in "More people are losing their jobs due to online missteps," it started a compelling discussion about workers' private and work lives, with comments ranging from "I don't think that a company has the right to fire someone over their actions or voicing personal beliefs as long as those actions or words remain disconnected from the business" to a long side discussion about whether schoolteachers have extra responsibility to watch what they say online.
Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.