Forbes Careers: The Tricky Art Of The Modern Apology, Workplace Romance Policies And Off-Hours Email Bans
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Everyone seems to be apologizing. President Joe Biden said he was sorry for his hot-mic insult. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin said he regretted what he called an “unauthorized” Twitter swipe from his team to a teen. Joe Rogan said he was sorry for his use of the n-word in past podcasts. And Spotify CEO Daniel Ek apologized to staff over the racial slur controversy as the streaming service’s P.R. crisis continues.
Or at least, they made an effort to apologize, some better than others. Biden’s apology to Fox News correspondent Pete Doocy was quick—a critical ingredient to a successful apology, writes Forbes contributor Bruce Weinstein. The teen swiped at by the Youngkin account, who had volunteered in Democratic politics, tweeted that the governor did not condemn what happened. Meanwhile, some observers annotated Ek’s apology, calling it a “classic non-apology apology.”
Good apologies have traditionally taken full responsibility, experts say. Writing about a similar controversy from last year involving Netflix, Forbes contributor Davia Temin said when people only say “I’m sorry you feel that way,” it’s “unsatisfying.”
And business professor Paul Argenti, who I chatted with Monday, says he thinks there’s a “pattern” of leaders trying to have it both ways. “You’re trading off the legal issues and the issues you face in the court of public opinion,” says Argenti, who studies communications at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. “When you see people using that strategy, they’re trying to tread a line.”
Yet even if the definition of what’s seen as a “good apology” hasn’t changed, communication pros say the practicalities of it have. In a country as divided as ours, some will see a half-apology as the right call, while others will find it lacking. “In any discussion today it’s almost impossible to make everyone happy—and apologies are the same,” Temin shared with me in a conversation for this story. “People are more calculating in who their audiences are—and speaking to their audience—as opposed to just speaking their truth.”
“Non-fraternization” rules, as they’re sometimes called, have “probably gathered some dust on the shelf” at companies over the past two years, say employment lawyers, who suspect they will be part of a policy review process companies do as they plan in-person office returns. At WarnerMedia, parent company of CNN, where Zucker was president, the “standards of business conduct” says “to avoid a conflict of interest, employees must not hire or supervise … someone with whom they have a personal relationship.” Read more about why such policies still matter here.
To keep you onboard, some employers are pulling out all the stops to attract and retain workers with new benefits.
Here are the 50 best jobs in America, according to Glassdoor.
Worried you’re letting yourself settle in your career? Here are nine warning signs.
Job seekers should get paid for interviewing, argues Forbes senior contributor Jack Kelly.
Quiet the negative voice in your head with these tips from a University of Michigan professor.
On Our Agenda
The January jobs report raised hopes about the economy—and questions over the numbers: Economists and Wall Street experts were expecting job losses or modest increases in January as omicron surged. Instead, the economy added 467,000 jobs, prompting questions about the discrepancies.
Putting the boss on hold: Belgium announced that government workers would no longer have to answer the boss’ emails outside of regular working hours, joining other European countries that have made it workers’ “right” to disconnect.
Both job seekers and hiring managers are getting “ghosted”: It’s not just you. Workforce planning firm Visier found in a new survey that 30% of job seekers had “ghosted” a potential employer, not returning calls without warning, while software company Greenhouse reports in a new survey that 75% of job seekers say they have been ghosted after an interview.
Job hunting while Black: Nearly half of Black tech professionals say they must switch companies often to see career growth, compared to 28% of non-Black respondents, according to a new survey from executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates. They also say their networks don’t lead to new roles as often, with just 39% saying they learn about opportunities that way, compared with 57% of non-Black respondents.
The Great Resignation is real: How’s this for an eye-popping stat? A new Bain & Co. report finds that more than 25% of American workers changed jobs between February 2020 and February 2021. That’s more than a quarter of Americans with new bosses and new jobs.
Described as the “definitive guide to dealing with—and ultimately breaking free from—the overbearing bosses, irritating coworkers, and all-around difficult people” at work, Jerks At Work, released in January, was on our 2022 list of career and leadership books to watch for. Written by social psychologist Tessa West, a professor at New York University, the book offers strategies for dealing with the “bulldozers,” “free riders” and “gaslighters” you confront every day.
Key quote: “Getting a handle on your jerk at work is a little like profiling a serial killer,” West writes. “In other words, you first need to get into your jerk’s head to learn what makes them tick. How do they pick their victims? How do they avoid capture? Do they have a boss who (secretly) benefits from their behavior?”
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