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How Lazy Bosses Avoid Doing Their Jobs

We all overuse certain words and phrases. That's natural.

But if you're a boss hoping to communicate effectively -- or be taken seriously -- that's also a real problem.

Platitudes aren't just annoying. Resorting to platitudes shows you don't want to listen, don't want to take action . . . in short, don't want to buckle down and do your job. Here are some examples.

"It just wasn't meant to be." Whatever happened, fate had nothing to do with it. Something went wrong. Figure out what went wrong and learn from it. Plus, "It just wasn't meant to be" places responsibility elsewhere, and when it's someone else's fault, it never gets fixed. 

On the other hand, "Let's figure out what we can do differently next time" is empowering and it places the responsibility where it should be: on you.

"That's probably not what you want to hear." No doubt it sucks to hear bad news. But when you say something isn't what I want to hear, you shift the issue over to my side of the table. Somehow the issue has become my problem. Don't shift. Explain why you made...

Don’t Hate Mondays — They’re the Best Day to Apply For a Job

The next time you find yourself with “a case of the Mondays” act fast and apply for a job—it’s the best odds you’ll get all week. In the US at least, 30% of Monday job applicants make it to the next stage in the hiring process, according to The least successful application day is Saturday—when only 14% of applicants advance.

_Portion-of-job-applications-Daily-success-rate_chartbuilder_withcopy aggregates job listings and analyzes resumes to automate job recruitment. It analyzed more than 500,000 job applications and more than 15 million views of job postings on the site by US job seekers since January 2012. It measured an application’s initial “success” by whether it advanced in the hiring firm’s internal process (e.g., by having an interview scheduled).

It found that job applications are highest on Tuesday—when only 20% of applicants succeed—and lowest on Saturday. Job seekers browse job listings on a mostly even basis throughout the work week, then peruse fewer on the weekends.’s listings cover a representative sample of 70% to 80% of jobs in the US, according to Jacob Bollinger, a senior data scientist at the company, though it doesn...

Phishing Scams Aren’t Likely to End Federal Careers Anytime Soon

Love online coupons? Can't get enough gaming from your work PC? Do you click every interesting link that lands in your inbox? The chief information security officer at the Homeland Security Department wants those who fall victim to multiple phishing attacks to lose not just their pride — but their security clearances, as well.

During a cybersecurity summit held last week in Washington, Paul Beckman said he regularly sends phishing emails to test his senior staff — and far too many of them fail the test.

"Someone who fails every single phishing campaign in the world should not be holding a TS SCI with the federal government," he said. "You have clearly demonstrated that you are not responsible enough to responsibly handle that information."

Guideline M: Misuse of Information Technology Systems

When it comes to losing your security clearance for carelessness online, the government does have one angle it can take. Guideline M: Misuse of Information Technology Systems addresses misuse of IT systems and is one of the adjudicative criteria used in a clearance determination. This guideline has almost exclusively been used in cases where pornography has been viewed on a government or workplace computer system, but it also includes sending...

Expanding the Reach of Precision Medicine

Readers of the NIH Director’s Blog know how excited I am about the potential of precision medicine for revolutionizing efforts to treat disease and improve human health. So, it stands to reason that I’m delighted by the positive reactions of researchers, health professionals, and the public to a much-anticipated report from the Precision Medicine Initiative Working Group of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director. Topping the report’s list of visionary recommendations? Build a national research cohort of 1 million or more Americans over the next three to four years to expand knowledge and practice of precision medicine.

When the president announced PMI during his 2015 State of the Union address, he envisioned a precise new era in medicine in which every patient receives the right treatment at the right time — an era in which health care professionals have the resources at hand to take into account individual differences in genes, environments, and lifestyles that contribute to disease. To achieve this, PMI’s national research cohort would tap into recent advances in science, technology and research participation policies to build the knowledge base needed to develop individualized care for all diseases and conditions.

The Working Group’s...

The Best Job Candidates Don't Always Have College Degrees

Last month, the U.K. office of the accounting firm Ernst & Young announced that, starting next year, it will no longer require new hires to have a college degree. Candidates for jobs at EY’s U.K. office used to have to meet the grade baseline of a B average in college, but will soon be evaluated instead based on the results of a series of pre-employment tests.

EY said in a statement that the decision came after an internal 18-month study of 400 employees found little evidence that academic success was correlated with how well new hires performed on the job. Further, EY believes that removing these grade requirements will widen their candidate pool: “Transforming our recruitment process will open up opportunities for talented individuals regardless of their background and provide greater access to the profession,” said Maggie Stillwell, EY’s managing partner for talent in the U.K.

Degrees and good grades have long been proxies for the kind of cognitive skills required for jobs in knowledge industries. But many say that these credentials don’t meaningfully predict job performance, and companies are starting to catch onto that. “There is a long literature in psychology showing that job...