Self-Employment Study Results


This research project intended to find a link between individual’s type of employment and stress levels, work/life balance, work hours, education level, job satisfaction, autonomy, and benefits. The findings were consistent with the research hypotheses. The sample surveyed was a convenient, non-random, non-probability sample that was conducted over the internet using Google surveys. The largest group of respondents were between ages 20 and 35, and were largely self-employed. Overall, self-employed individuals reported more autonomy, less benefits, more work/life balance, less job security, and were moderately satisfied with their job. It was interesting to find that many of the self-employed individuals were still attending college. Recommendations for future research would be to investigate further the link between college students and self-employment, and the increased use of welfare benefits for self-employed individuals. Overall, this study showed that while there are positive outcomes to being self-employed, there are also negative outcomes as well. As the nature of work and employment changes in our world, new possibilities for jobs will arise. Self-employment is one of the avenues that should be researched more in the coming years.

Holiday Season Layoffs – Downsizing in Digital Media


Around this time of year, most people are taking this time to get ready to buy presents for their loved ones and look forward to cozy nights inside spent with family and their much-deserved break from work. Unfortunately, some families will be facing a lean holiday season this year, as layoffs echo throughout the working world.

The industry in particular that is experiencing downsizing this holiday season is online media. Digital media has been the focus of a recent round of layoffs for many prominent media companies:

Buzzfeed – 100 Workers

LA Weekly – 9 Workers

Oath – 560 Workers

ESPN – 150 Workers 

Condé Nast- 80 Workers

While layoffs are one way for corporations to improve their bottom line and increase profits into the future, they are never good for workers, especially at this time of year.

Here are some resources for laid off workers from the U.S. Department of Labor:

Rapid Response Services for Laid Off Workers

There are also laws that govern the handling of layoffs by companies, including the WARN, or Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act that was enacted in 1988. You can read the full text of the law here.



Buzzfeed Layoffs Could Be a Huge Bellwether for Digital Media
The Oath Bloodbath Continues: 560 People Are Being Laid Off
In Latest Media Purge, ESPN Lays of 150 Staffers
LA Weekly Staff ‘Eviscerated’ by Layoffs, Says Editor
Layoffs Hit GQ as Condé Nast Cuts Continue

When Work Becomes Deadly



Many of us feel overworked and overwhelmed on the job. However, sometimes this can be taken to the extreme. Today we’re going to discuss an issue from across the world- the phenomenon of Karoshi in Japan.

Karoshi– “overwork death” is an unfortunate trend of deaths in workers usually caused by malnutrition, stress, heart attack, and stroke. This trend has been observed since 1969, with the first death of a 29 year old man who worked at a newspaper company.

Last year, almost 2,000 Japanese committed suicide due to work reasons. This is an incredible high number for a preventable cause of death. Japanese government has made attempts to quell the problem, with proposals to cap overtime hours. However, it is too little to late for many workers and their families.

Japan is certainly not the only country to experience this tragedy. In China, it has been noted in China Youth Daily that 600,000 people die every year from overwork. That accounts to almost 1,600 per day.

This condition is known as guolaosi in China. Guolaosi is known as “death from overwork” in Mandarin. It can be partially attributed to the prevalence of mega-factories, producing global goods in cramped and polluted conditions.

Many believe that hard work is a virtue. But at what cost?


Bloomberg News- China

CBS News – Karoshi Deaths

Productivity Apps


What apps do you use for work? Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, Slack? These are just some of the many apps on the market today that aim to help improve productivity and efficiency in the workplace.

Recently we tried out a new app called Google Primer. It aims to help you with your business- questions from the first lesson include: “How can maintaining a good work-life balance help my business?” “What steps can I take to help me and my team maintain a healthy work-life balance?”

A series of short quizzes help cement the information the user learns within the app. While they don’t cite their sources, the lesson results convey a powerful message: “Studies show that using a smartphone for work after 9pm lowers sleep quantity and quality, which can lead to people feeling less refreshed in the morning and less engaged at work. Researchers have also found that people who spend time outside of work focusing on non-work skills and abilities are happier and less stressed.”

We reached out to local business owners to get their feedback on productivity apps, and had a chance to sit down with the owner of Fixed Computing. He uses Slack on a daily basis to coordinate and organize his operations in an effective manner. He told us: “Slack lets you integrate various apps within the service that promote productivity, like calendar integration, email integration, social media integration, etc.  It’s been a game-changer for us.”



A New Take on Retirement?


What would your career outlook be like if your employer determined what age you would retire at the start of your career with them? Would you have more hope for the future? Or less?

“One way forward would be to amend current law to allow employers and employees to agree on a retirement age at the start of a new job. The contract could specify that, after a certain age, the employee could be terminated without cause.” A Wall Street Journal essay from this week by Saul Levmore and Martha Nussbaum proposes a new take on the current dominant retirement paradigms.

A Money magazine from last year discussed the issue: “You’ve heard the horror stories about many Americans retiring with puny nest eggs and little income to live on. Still, data show that more than two-thirds of Americans are out of the full-time workforce by age 66.”

According to the CDC, the average life expectancy is 78.8 years. This indicates that on average, Americans are spending between 15-20 years in retirement. This is a huge strain on the current Social Security system, and for employers as well, as current workers pay for the pensions of retired workers. Is there a better solution?


Let’s Agree on an Age to Retire

Average Retirement Ages in the U.S.: Probably Too Young

FastStats- CDC Life Expectancy

Vacation Time Unused in America

sea-beach-holiday-vacation.jpgHow many vacation days a year do you get at your place of work? Two weeks, none, or unlimited?

Today’s topic is paid leave in the Unites States – are American workers using their much-deserved time off? Research indicates that most Americans only take about two weeks off per year.

According to research from Project: Time Off, “By forfeiting vacation days, American workers gave up $66.4 billion in 2016 benefits alone. That means that last year employees effectively donated an average of $604 in work time to their employer.”

Why is this so important? The Project’s GfK survey data showed that: “Unused vacation days cost the U.S. economy $236 billion in 2016, due to lost spending. That spending would have supported 1.8 million American jobs and generated $70 billion in additional income for American workers. If the 54 percent of workers who left time unused in 2016 took just one more day off, it would drive $33 billion in economic impact.”

Not only does this have an economic effect on the country, it also takes a mental toll on the workers and their companies. Colleen Kane for Fortune writes: “when people don’t take time off to reset, their resulting stress and burnout can be detrimental to both workers and their employers.”

The benefits for employers for so-called “unlimited” vacation policies are illustrated in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal: “Employers say they like the policies because they can minimize staff burnout. It doesn’t hurt that they can save on costs, as the policies mean they no longer pay employees who leave the company for unused vacation days.” On the other hand, “unlimited vacation time isn’t a perfect solution to an overworked workforce. Employees can become more hesitant to take time off when they’re allowed to do it any time—and for as long as they desire.”

What do you think? Would you take unlimited vacation if it was offered? Or would you find it difficult to be away from the workplace?

Unlimited Vacation Time is a Lot of Work

Why Americans Just Won’t Take Time Off

The State of The American Vacation 2017


Project: Time Off

Pay Transparency


Do you know how much money your coworkers are making? Would you want to know?

Pay transparency has been a hot topic in the news recently, due to legislation requiring corporations to disclose pay rates for their employees broken down by gender and race. However, many are using online sites such as Glassdoor and Indeed to look up median salaries by company, position, and location.

A New York Times article from last week by Jena McGregor outlines the growing demand for pay transparency: “Shareholders have pushed technology and financial services companies to release their gender pay gap statistics. More state and local governments have passed pay equity laws, some of which require state contractors to report data or certify they pay men and women the same.” McGregor also interviewed an executive from Glassdoor, who relayed that millennials in particular don’t see discussing salaries as taboo. defines pay transparency in a different way: “Being more transparent about pay doesn’t have to mean posting everyone’s salary for all to see, though there are some companies that go that far. What it does mean is employees having an understanding of their company’s compensation philosophy, strategies and practices.”


What do you think? Should salaries be discussed openly in the workplace?

Push for pay transparency grows stronger

What is Pay Transparency and Why Does it Matter?

Parallel Careers- the rise of “Moonlighting”


Have you ever had a second job in addition to your full-time gig? Or have you ever needed two or three jobs just to get by?

A recent article in The Japan Times discusses the increasing prevalence of the parallel career, pertaining to those “who hold multiple jobs or engage in various activities in addition to regular work.” In Japan, many millennials are choosing to reduce their hours at their regular job in order to pursue their passions and make extra money on the side. Some companies are even encouraging their workers to do so, claiming that it increases morale and productivity in the workplace.

The nature of work itself has changed over the years, in part due to the recession of the past decade. It is no longer a sure bet to work for the same company one’s whole life, and that company in turn would give their workers full benefits and a pension. Instead, workers are “moonlighting” and taking on multiple part-time jobs to fulfill their needs. Monty Mumford for Forbes writes: “The changes in those nine years have been profound. The notion of the freelancer as an outsider, as somebody who is not trusted enough or somehow too flaky to be employed full-time, is now the Average Joe, leveraging his or her time by mixing and matching any number of gigs to bring in dollars and a living income.”

What do you think? Would you rather work one full-time job, or multiple part-time jobs?

Parallel careers grow attractive for millennials, as lifetime employment loses luster

Moonlighting Takes The Gig Economy To The Next Freelancing Level

Benefits of a Positive Workplace Culture


We did it! The weekend is here!

Have you ever wished that your place of work had a more positive atmosphere? Well, research shows that a more positive work environment can help improve employee’s health and productivity, as well as the company’s bottom line.

Michelle Burke, in her piece for the Huffington Post, writes about the effect that spreading kindness can have at work: “when leadership is focused on building a kinder, encouraging and engaged environment, it increases positive emotions and better health. People’s relationships improve fostering more collaboration and team spirit. In turn, this safeguards against stressful situations and negative experiences. It also helps to improve employee resiliency to deal with challenges while boosting their well-being. When organizations develop positive, kind cultures they achieve significantly higher levels of organizational effectiveness.”

What will you do next week at work to help promote a positive atmosphere?

Creating a Positive Workplace Culture- A Little Goes a Long Way

Occupational Burnout


What is burnout? It’s not just the result of working long hours on the job. Burnout can result from not feeling valued at work, lacking social support, and feeling out of control of your job situation.

Paula Davis-Laack for Psychology Today defines burnout as: “the chronic state of being out of sync with one or more aspects of your life, and the result is a loss of energy, enthusiasm, and confidence.” She outlines the six sources of occupational burnout as: lack of control, values conflict, insufficient reward, work overload, unfairness, and breakdown of community.

Problems at work can overlap into problems in your home life. Kenneth R. Rosen of The New York Times writes: “These stressors can manifest in outbursts against co-workers, violence or anger toward loved ones at home, loss of appetite and passion for things once loved, or being unable to find motivation for things that you were able to accomplish with ease.”

Have you experienced burnout at work before? Do you think this problem can be solved, or will it continue to get worse?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

How to Recognize Burnout Before You’re Burned Out

Six Sources of Burnout at Work


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