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Does your boss want you to "operationalize" or "eat your own dog food"?

By Karen Datko Aug 17, 2010 3:47PM

Yesterday we learned how to use new software to detect unwanted tone in e-mails before we send. Today we'll focus on how to rid our work communication of jargon.

You know the drivel we're talking about: "action items," "cradle-to-grave," "creatives" and "drink the Kool-Aid," to name a few. A fun website called Unsuck It offers substitutes for awful expressions you've heard too much of.

 

The site lets you type in your phrase of choice and offers the "unsucked" substitution. Or, you can scroll through the glossary.

 

Some examples:

 

Bank VP charged with fraud for making it look as if clients were paying their loans on time. Bank may have lost $5.5 million.

By Teresa Mears Aug 17, 2010 2:16PM

The charge was bank fraud, but the perpetrator wasn't in it for the money.

 

Jeffrey Gonsiewski, a Chicago-area bank vice president, falsified the records of dozens of loans held by people who had become delinquent to make it look as if they were paying on time.

What was in it for Gonsiewski, whom The Chicago Tribune said fancied himself a sort of modern-day Robin Hood? Nothing, unless you want to count a jail sentence.

 

Gonsiewski, who pleaded guilty last week to one federal count of bank fraud, says he was just trying to help the bank's customers. These days, that's a lot more unusual than fraud.

 

A no- or low-money-down mortgage is dangerous for the borrower, the lender, and, if enough of these loans are made, for the economy as a whole.

By Karen Datko Aug 17, 2010 1:28PM

This guest post comes from Frank Curmudgeon at Bad Money Advice.

 

I really thought it would take longer than this.

 

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know that I am generally skeptical of the proposition that we will learn much of anything from the Great Recession. My assumption has long been that given five or 10 years we will be the same bunch of ignorant fools we always were, doing the same foolish things.

 

But I did think that in the shorter term -- this year and next -- some of the more obviously foolish stuff would be avoided. I didn't think anybody would be willing to invest in GM in 2010. And I didn't think that anybody would be discussing taking out new no-money-down mortgages anytime soon. I was wrong on both counts. Post continues after video.

 

Should we let all of the tax cuts sunset, or just part of them? Or should we keep them in place?

By Karen Datko Aug 17, 2010 10:18AM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.

 

No matter what you think about President Obama, you have to appreciate the sheer amount of work he's managed to get Congress to do in the few years he's been in office. Whether or not they're the right things to do will remain to be seen. But one topic that is sure to take center stage within the next few months, if not weeks, is what we should be doing about the soon-to-be-expiring Bush-era tax cuts.

 

A little history for those of us who weren't paying taxes before 2001 (that includes myself, at least on any meaningful level):

 

Company uses scratch-and-sniff to educate about the dangers of natural-gas leaks.

By Karen Datko Aug 16, 2010 7:22PM

Scratch-and-sniff is usually associated with pleasing scents: men's cologne, women's perfume, new-car smell.

 

Not so with this month's bills from Puget Sound Energy, serving 1 million-plus customers in Washington state. A pamphlet (.pdf file) accompanying the bill is infused with the odor of rotten eggs. Scratch the pamphlet and you'll know what a natural-gas leak smells like. When you smell that smell, it's time to leave the house. Right. Now.

Some found the smelly pamphlet humorous.

 

Rogue app allows hackers to post spam on Facebook pages.

By Karen Datko Aug 16, 2010 6:18PM

This post comes from Mark Huffman at partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

If you're offered a chance to install a "dislike" button on your Facebook page, ignore it. It's part of a phishing scam.

The idea behind the "dislike" button is to allow users to flag comments they don't like. Facebook has a like button but not a dislike button, and says it has no plans to add one.

 

New Outlook plug-in attempts to keep inappropriate emotion out of our online missives. But can it overcome human stupidity?

By Teresa Mears Aug 16, 2010 3:47PM

It's happened to us all. An e-mail we thought was perfectly clear and straightforward was taken by the recipient the wrong way. Perhaps he was offended, angered or thought we were making fun of him. And all we wanted was to make sure he knew the meeting was at 9 a.m., not 10 a.m., and he needed to be there on time.

 

A new software program wants to save us from ourselves. ToneCheck is a plug-in that works with Microsoft Outlook and was created by the Canadian company Lymbix. Once installed, it will check your messages for inappropriate emotion, giving you an opportunity to reword your missives before you hit "send."

 

Lymbix CEO Matt Eldridge came up with the program after he found that his e-mail sales pitches fell flat, he told ABC News' Ki Mae Heussner: "I thought to myself, there's a spell check, there's a grammar check. There must be a check I can download into my Outlook to check my tone."

 

Make more money without leaving a bad taste in your boss's mouth.

By Karen Datko Aug 16, 2010 2:02PM

This guest post comes from Pop at Pop Economics.

 

Ready to make more money? As I've written before, getting a bigger salary matters more than your asset allocation. It matters more than avoiding ATM fees. Heck, it matters more than your savings rate. If you can get a 20% bump today, you put yourself on the path to a huge difference in wealth 20 years down the road.

 

And the benefits just multiply. As you negotiate for raises, you'll get better at it. You'll get better in other kinds of negotiations too. Worst-case scenario: You get shot down. But if you don't ask, the answer will always be "no."

In Part One of this two-part series, I explained why "now" is a great time to ask for a raise. The economic environment is bad, but not so much that you've lost all negotiating power.

 

However, let's not abandon tact. Getting a raise is a lot different from negotiating a job offer.

 

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