Watercooler

What you'll be talking about this month when you talk about work.

Sick In the Head Most offices aren't like the one featured in Space Shot. Rather, they're soulless affairs with poor air circulation that resemble a faded airport terminal more than a modern art museum. So it's easy to blame our various workday ailments--headaches, dry eyes, fatigue for no good reason--on our physical environment. Easy, but likely wrong. According to a recent study published in the U.K. journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the symptoms most associated with "sick-building syndrome" are more likely to be caused by high job demands and low levels of support. Give a dusty air vent in your office a kiss, and apologize the next time you have a headache….

Something You Can Complain About If our buildings don't really make us sick, then what will we bitch about? Luckily, we'll always have bad managers and poor phone etiquette. Randstad Holding NV, a temp company, has compiled a list of pet peeves from a survey of more than 2,300 adults. Here's your new complaint menu:

  • Being condescended to: 44%
  • Publicly reprimanded: 33%
  • Micromanaging: 34%
  • Loud Talkers: 32%
  • Mobile phone ringing: 30%
  • Public speakerphones: 22%

Career Options You May Not Have Considered Last month, we noted the efforts of the retail business to revive its fortunes and attract better talent. It's not alone. The Middle East PR Association is looking for talent to support a growing need for public-relations pros in finance, real estate, health, IT, and tourism. Tip: Put in for Dubai, not Baghdad, for your first gig. Not to be outdone, the Malaysian Timber Board is promoting furniture-making careers. Hey, you could be Malaysia's answer to Charles Eames….

The New Chinatown That'd be London. Chinese executives report being most impressed by international stints in the British capital. London wins points for its open-mindedness, tolerance, and ethnic and cultural diversity….

The Only Acceptable Way To Goof Off At Work? Searching for another job online! A recent survey of employee Internet usage by executive headhunter Hudson yielded shockingly few reports of personal email use, blog trawling, and e-shopping. But a whopping 23% said they've job-hunted online while on company time. At least these folks are using their precious free Web time for the right reasons--to get out….

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