A New Look at Job Hoppers and Why they Make the Best Employees - Believe It!
People in their 20s on average change jobs every 18 months. People in their 30s — at least the ones that continue to do well in their careers — change jobs frequently as well, although at a slower pace than the 20 somethings. So if you think job-hopping is bad, change your thinking. Job hoppers are not quitters. In fact, they make better co-workers and better employees and I bet are generally more satisfied with their work life.
1. Job hoppers have more intellectually rewarding careers.
In almost any job, the learning curve is very steep early on. And then it goes flat. So by the end of two years at the same job, you often have little left to learn. Which makes me wonder what people are doing to keep their brains alive if they stay at the same job for 20 years. It also makes me certain that job hoppers know more.
If you change jobs often, then you’re always challenged with a lot to learn — your learning curve stays high. This is true for office skills, and industry specific knowledge. It also applies to your emotional intelligence. The more you have to navigate corporate hierarchies and deal with office dramas, the more you learn about people and the better you will become at making people comfortable at work. And that’s a great skill to have.
2. Job hoppers have more stable careers.
Corporate America doesn’t provide stability for its employees. The only people who think it does are really old and completely out of touch. There are layoffs and downsizing and just-in-time hiring and contract workers — realities that barely existed a generation ago. The stability you get in your career comes from you. If you’re counting on some company to give you stability, realizing this is scary. But if you believe in yourself and your abilities and treat your career with this understanding, then it’s no problem. You can create career stability — you just have to do it on your own.
The way you do that is through networking. Because you can be sure you’ll need to find many jobs in your lifetime, you want network as efficiently as you can. After all, the most efficient way to find a job is through a network. It’s how most people land jobs. People who work for lots of companies have a larger network than people who stay in one place for long periods of time. Which is why job-hopping creates stability.
3. Job hoppers are higher performers.
If you know you are going to leave your job in the next year, you’re going to be very conscious of your resume — that is, what skills you’re tackling, what you’re achieving, whether you’re becoming an expert in your field. These issues do not generally concern someone who has been in a job for five years and knows he’s going to stay another five years. So job hoppers are always looking to do really well at work, if for no other reason than it helps them get their next job.
You can’t job hop if don’t add value each place you go. That’s why job hoppers are usually overachievers on projects they are involved in; they want something good to put on their resume. So from employers’ perspective, this is a good thing. Companies benefit more from having a strong performer for 18 months than a mediocre employee for 20 years. (And don’t tell me people can’t get up to speed fast enough to contribute. Fix that. It’s an outdated model and won’t attract good employees.)
4. Job hoppers are more loyal.
Loyalty is caring about the people you’re with, right? Job hoppers are generally great team players because that’s all they have. Job hoppers don’t identify with a company’s long-term performance, they identify with their work group’s short-term performance. Job hoppers want their boss to adore them so they get a good reference. Job hoppers want to bond with their co-workers so they can all help each other get jobs later on. And job hoppers want to make sure everyone who comes into contact with them has a good experience with them; it’s not like they have ten years on the job to fix a first impression.
This is why job hoppers care more about their co-workers and will go further to make them happy than long-term employees. And it if you think about it, this makes sense for a company, too: The company isn’t hiring you with any decade-long commitment, so you would be foolish to think you have to give one.
5. Job hoppers are more emotionally mature.
It takes a good deal of self-knowledge to know what you want to do next, and to choose to go get it rather than stay someplace that for the moment seems safe. It takes commitment to personal growth to give up career complacency and embrace a challenging learning curve throughout your career — over and over. And it’s a brave person who can tell someone, “I know I’ve only been working here for a month, but it’s not right for me, so I’m leaving.”
Doubtless you’ll hear that you should stick it out, show some loyalty, give it at least a year or two. But why should you take time out of your life to spend your days doing something you know is not right for you?
It is okay to quit. No career is interesting if it’s not engaging and challenging, and your most important job is to find that — over and over. Do not settle for outdated workplace models that accept complacency and downplay self-knowledge. Sure, the job market is tough nowadays - but that’s no reason to settle.
Most performance review systems set an ideal image of how an employee should act and then point out how each employee uniquely fails to meet that ideal. We call these failures “development areas” and encourage people to focus their energy on improving them. However, improving on weaknesses takes up a tremendous amount of energy. Instead, focus your people on their strengths. Encourage them to do what they are uniquely good at. Most importantly, accept their weaknesses. If one person isn’t good at spreadsheets, ask someone else to do them instead. If you can’t take away that part of their job, help them improve enough so it doesn’t hinder their strengths.
Supreme Court Decision Widens Scope of Third Party Retaliation Claims
In an 8-0 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court recently allowed an employee who was allegedly fired in retaliation for a sex discrimination charge filed by his fiancée to sue his employer under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Like Title VII, the FMLA has an antiretaliation provision that could extend similar protection to third parties such as fiancées and close family members.
What Happened The employee, Eric Thompson, and his fiancée, Miriam Regalado, were employees of North American Stainless, LP (NAS). Regalado filed a sex discrimination complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC), and 3 weeks after NAS received notice of the charge, Thompson was fired. Thompson then filed his own charge with EEOC, claiming his termination was in retaliation for Regalado’s initial complaint.
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky ruled in favor of NAS. The case proceeded to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, who first reversed the ruling, but later affirmed, finding that Thompson could not raise a retaliation claim because he himself had not filed a charge of discrimination. The case was then heard by the Supreme Court.
What the Court Said The Supreme Court reversed the lower courts decision, finding that “Title VII’s antiretaliation provision must be construed to cover a broad range of employer conduct,” in this case, third-party retaliation. Thompson v. North American Stainless, LP, No. 09–291, U.S. Supreme Court (January 24, 2011).
Title VII allows a “person aggrieved” to file a civil action. In defining “person aggrieved,” the Court relied on a “zone of interests” test. The test permits a person to sue if he or she “falls within the ‘zone of interests’ sought to be protected by the statutory provision whose violation forms the legal basis for his complaint.”
The justices found that “injuring him [Thompson] was the employer’s intended means of harming Regalado. Hurting him was the unlawful act by which the employer punished her. In these circumstances, we think Thompson well within the zone of interests sought to be protected by Title VII. He is a person aggrieved with standing to sue.”
NAS argued that allowing Thompson to sue would open the employers up to retaliation lawsuits from everyone who gets terminated who has any connection to a complaining employee.
In response, Justice Scalia wrote in his opinion, “[w]e expect that firing a close family member will almost always meet the standard, and inflicting a milder reprisal on a mere acquaintance will almost never do so, but beyond that we are reluctant to generalize.”
Practical Tip for Employers
The FMLA makes it unlawful for any employer to “interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of or the attempt to exercise” any right under the FMLA, or to “discharge or in any other manner discriminate against any individual for opposing” any violation of the FMLA. In light of this language, it seems likely that employees’ attorneys and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will seek to apply the Court’s logic in Thompson to third-party retaliation claims under the FMLA.
What does this mean for employers? When deciding whether to terminate or take other adverse action against an employee, it may not be enough to consider whether that employee has recently exercised FMLA rights or engaged in other activities protected by state or federal law. Now, the employer must consider whether the employee has some significant connection to any other employee who engaged in such protected activities. For example, is the employee married to, dating, or good friends with another employee who recently requested FMLA leave or filed a DOL complaint? If so, additional caution may be warranted.
Amazon.com rolled out a streaming TV and movie service for its prime customers, taking a direct shot at fast growing rival Netflix.
Amazon announced on Tuesday that its prime customers, who pay $79 a year for free two-day shipping, can choose among 5,000 TV shows and movies such as “Syriana,” “Doctor Who: Season 4,” and “Analyze This” to stream through computers and devices such as Roku. The streaming video service is available to prime members at no additional cost.
Netflix shares were down 4.8 percent in midday trade on Tuesday while shares of Amazon were down 2.1 percent.
“We’ve have said for a long time that we expect someone to compete with Netflix,” said Netflix spokesman Steve Swasey. “When you have a big growing category it attracts competition.”
The move ramps up the battle among Netflix, Apple, Google and Microsoft, which are all vying to control the living room by letting consumers watch TV shows and movies directly from the Internet to TV sets and other devices like tablet computers.
Media companies so far are cautious about allowing their content for use on these types of services because they compete with cable operators that pay a premium to carry TV and movies. The fear is that people will drop pricey cable subscriptions, known in the industry as “cord cutting,” in exchange for streaming video offered by Netflix or Amazon for instance.
Amazon also offers “Instant Video,” a digital video service that offers customers more than 90,000 movies and TV shows to buy or rent on an a la carte basis.
Did You Know - Washington is the only State named after a United States President....Happy President's Day!
Before it became a state, the territory was called Columbia (named after the Columbia River). When it was granted statehood, the name was changed to Washington, supposedly so people wouldn’t confuse it with The District of Columbia.
Department store chain Nordstrom will acquire venture-backed HauteLook for $180 million in Nordstrom stock. The deal also includes a three-year earn-out of up to $90 million. HauteLook, an online marketplace for designer goods, has raised upwards of $40 million from investors including Insight Venture Partners.
PRESS RELEASE Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE:JWN) announced today it has entered into an agreement to acquire HauteLook, Inc., a leader in the online private sale marketplace. The Company said the acquisition will enable Nordstrom to participate in the fast-growing private sale marketplace and provide a platform to increase innovation and speed in the way it serves customers in all channels.
The acquisition will build on Nordstrom’s success in multi-channel retailing. Recently, these efforts have included implementing an enterprise-wide inventory management system, increasing its Direct business capabilities and integrating its online and store presence to provide customers with a seamless experience.
“We are excited to partner with HauteLook as we believe this acquisition further enhances our focus on serving customers online in new and compelling ways,” said Blake Nordstrom, president, Nordstrom, Inc. “While our focus on providing a superior in-store shopping experience is our roots, continuing to find ways to use technology to serve customers the way they want to be served is critical. This partnership gives Nordstrom and HauteLook shared growth opportunities as online shopping evolves.” Nordstrom added, “CEO Adam Bernhard and his team have built a fantastic business since launching HauteLook just over three years ago and we want them to continue to do what they do well. We think their highly talented team and culture of innovation will be a terrific complement to our business.”
HauteLook CEO Adam Bernhard said, “By joining forces with Nordstrom, we are giving customers a fuller range of options for the way they shop today.” Bernhard continued, “Our established membership base of well over four million shoppers is closely aligned with the Nordstrom customer. We feel fortunate to partner with a company that shares our commitment to providing customers with great brands and an exciting shopping experience.”
Nordstrom will acquire HauteLook for $180 million in Nordstrom stock with a portion subject to ongoing vesting requirements. In addition, the transaction includes a three-year earn-out of up to $90 million in Nordstrom stock subject to company performance and vesting requirements for the existing management team. The overall transaction structure provides significant incentive and retention mechanisms for HauteLook senior management. HauteLook will operate as an independent, wholly-owned subsidiary, be managed by its current leadership and the HauteLook brand and website will remain separate from Nordstrom.
The transaction is expected to be dilutive to Nordstrom in 2011 due to non-cash expenses related to the acquisition. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2011 and is subject to customary closing conditions, including customary regulatory and HauteLook shareholder approvals.
Guggenheim Securities, LLC is acting as exclusive financial advisor to Nordstrom and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and Lane Powell PC are acting as its counsel. JP Morgan Securities Inc. is acting as exclusive financial advisor to HauteLook and Gunderson Dettmer is acting as its counsel.
HauteLook is a leader in the online private sale channel, offering limited time sale events on the world’s top fashion and lifestyle brands. Every day, HauteLook offers discounts of 50 to 75 percent off on great brands for women, men, kids, home, beauty, travel and local services. HauteLook launched in 2007 and is headquartered in Los Angeles. Membership is free and everyone is welcome. Visit www.HauteLook.com to learn more.
Wow, Talk about Facebook's Super Security Team Protecting it's 500 Million Members!
PALO ALTO, Calif.—The nerve center for Facebook’s security team is a room tucked away on the lower level of the company’s main building here. The word scalps is painted in big blue stenciled letters on the back wall, which serves as a kind of scrapbook of legal and other wins for the social-networking company.
Taped to the wall are photos of spammers getting served notices of lawsuits, copies of checks defendants have used to settle suits filed by Facebook, mug shots of child predators who were kicked off the site and face criminal charges, cease and desist letters sent to fraudsters who sold fake Facebook accounts, and a letter from a former spam-happy teenager that starts “I appreciate that you spoke to my mom.”
The wall of scalps is a source of pride for Facebook’s security team and is representative of the company’s aggressive, no-holds-barred approach to keeping fraudsters and thieves away from its more than 500 million users.
"We’ve built an offensive capability," says Joe Sullivan, chief security officer at Facebook. "Filing civil lawsuits is not a PR statement; it’s very impactful. We monitor underground forums and the spammers discuss the judgments. It has a deterrent effect."
Indeed, settlement judgments—including the $873 million record judgment in one Facebook case—aren’t something to sniff at if you’re in it for the money.
Facebook’s litigiousness should come as no surprise given Sullivan’s background. He joined Facebook in 2008 after working in various security and legal roles at PayPal and eBay for six years and at the U.S. Department of Justice for eight years. He was the first federal prosecutor in a U.S. Attorneys’ office working full-time on high-tech crime cases and was a founding member of the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Unit in Silicon Valley. Recently, he joined the board of the National Cyber Security Alliance.
"The philosophy predates me, but it’s one I’m excited to be a part of," Sullivan told CNET in a recent interview. "You can’t just build walls. You have to create incentives for people to not want to cause trouble."
Tunisian passwords Lately, in addition to trying to keep the bad guys off of Facebook, Sullivan and his team have had to thwart outside attempts to keep some users from the site.
On Christmas Day, the security staff started hearing complaints from political activists in Tunisia—who had been protesting against the government since December—that their Facebook accounts were being compromised. It turned out that Internet Service Providers in that country were injecting malicious code into the Facebook log-in pages that was hijacking users’ passwords as they tried to get onto the site, Sullivan said.
"We had to figure out how we could stop this technical attack quickly without breaking the Web site for everyone," he said. "This is the fun part of our job. We get to react to things that no one has dealt with before. Nobody freaked out."
After conferring with tech-savvy representatives from nongovernmental organizations, the U.S. government, and others, Facebook came up with a solution to fix the problem and began rolling it out to users in Tunisia over the next week. After that, the site saw a 15 percent jump in traffic from that country, according to Sullivan.
"We’re not getting involved in geopolitical debates," he said. "We’re just protecting our users."
That’s not the only time the popular social-networking site has found itself in the crossfire between people using the Internet to plan protests and spread information and governments that want to stop them.
Last week, the site reported service disruptions and a drop in traffic from Egypt, where protesters were demanding an end to the 30-year reign of President Hosni Mubarak. And in 2009, Iranians relied on Facebook (and Twitter and YouTube) during antigovernment street protests amid a text messaging and cell phone blackout.
A few months ago, Facebook found itself dealing with another politically sensitive matter when an ISP in a South Asian country that Sullivan declined to name appeared to be doing something fishy. Random pages were popping up on the site for people accessing Facebook from that country.
"One of the largest ISPS in that country was clearly using filtering software directed by the government," Sullivan said. "It broke the Facebook experience by caching the wrong information."
So, Facebook blocked that ISP and told the company it wouldn’t allow access to the site until the problem was fixed. “You hear of countries blocking sites like Facebook. Well, sometimes we block them too,” Sullivan said.
"We make a judgment call on how to best protect our users. We’re not thinking of it from a political standpoint," he said. "We do get lawful government data requests and work with our lawyers on those. But where there is a risk of exposure of (customer) information outside that process, we want to prevent that."
A CNET reporter talks to spokesman Simon Axten, McGeehan and Sullivan in a conference room with a Super Mario video game theme at Facebook headquarters.
(Credit: James Martin/CNET)
Malware and phishing road blocks The cases involving governments are few and far between, however. Ninety percent of the time the Facebook security engineers are just trying to prevent financially motivated scammers from taking over user accounts and distributing spam. Overseeing the technical end of that effort for Facebook is Ryan McGeehan, security manager for incident response.
McGeehan, who used to work on Web security for the Federal Reserve Bank and volunteers for the Honeynet Project security research nonprofit, tries to understand the mindset of attackers and anticipate what tricks they might try next.
As a result of his work with the Honeynet Project he is able to predict threats. For example, his team took advantage of a period when the Koobface worm was dormant to research antiphishing techniques before the malware starting attacking again, he said.
"Our detection (technology) had to change," McGeehan said. "We took older technologies and applied them to the malware."
Because account hijacking is so much of a problem due to increasingly clever phishing efforts, Facebook has advanced security features any user can enable and is turning to novel authentication methods for protecting at-risk accounts.
People can have Facebook notify them if their account is being accessed by a device the site does not recognize as being one they normally use. Users also have the option to see all the active sessions associated with their account and close ones they don’t want open, from forgetting to log off at an Internet cafe, for example. People can ask the site to send them a onetime password for use on computers they don’t trust. And last week, Facebook began rolling out a feature that lets people use HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) encryption technology for all of their activity on Facebook, not just when they are typing in the password.
McGeehan’s team has devised what it calls “roadblocks” when it detects anomalous activity that would indicate a possible malware infection on the computer or that someone other than the authorized account owner is trying to access the site. For example, if the system notices that an account is sending a large number of messages or making a lot of posts and posting dubious links—activities that could indicate a malware infection—the computer will direct the user to a free browser-based McAfee Clean and Repair tool that can be used immediately.
The company also is using “social authentication” to keep hijackers out of accounts even when they have the password. If the system doesn’t recognize the device being used by a particular account to log in, or the location is new, it will force whoever is trying to access an account to prove he or she is the authorized account owner. If the account owner has provided Facebook with a mobile phone number, the system may send a code via text message that can be used to access the account. The person attempting to log in also may have to prove they are the owner of the account by matching names of Facebook friends with their photos as they are presented randomly.
"How do we recognize that the person logging in isn’t you? Behind the scenes we have built a robust process to detect that, and we put the person through a flow that only the account owner" could navigate, said McGeehan, who has some patents pending related to the use of the "social graph."
Despite all the efforts, problems are bound to happen as they do at any big Internet Web site. Last week, Facebook reported that a bug in an API (Application Programming Interface) allowed someone who was unauthorized to post to the Fan pages of company CEO Mark Zuckerberg and a couple of other unidentified high-profile accounts, which may or may not have included French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s page.
"We have a history of being quick to act on any vulnerability we find," McGeehan said when asked to comment on the glitch. "This is something that separates us from other Web sites."
Privacy matters A few security professionals who follow Facebook closely concurred with McGeehan’s boast and, in general, praised the company’s security efforts with regard to attacks on users or data from outside the site. However, several of them voiced concerns about privacy issues related to Facebook’s policies and practices for data used for advertising and by third-party apps.
"Their track record has been good on internal security. There have been surprisingly few hacks on their system given the amount of attention they get," said Chester Wisniewski, senior security advisor at antivirus vendor Sophos. "The bigger picture of security at Facebook is how they’re handling people targeting the users" by way of malicious or misleading apps distributed by fraudulent developers.
"They seem to be doing a reasonably good job of shutting these things down once they pop up, but what are they doing to prevent fraudulent apps from being created?" he said.
Facebook Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan
(Credit: James Martin/CNET)
Asked whether and how Facebook vets the apps, Sullivan said: “We have a dedicated team and dedicated processes. What people sometimes misinterpret is that it is not an upfront gatekeeper (approach). It’s a risk-based approach.” Facebook’s platform operations team doesn’t scrutinize every single app, rather it devotes its energy to the ones that could cause the most damage if they were bad, he said.
"We look at and regularly review apps that are being used," Sullivan said. "Not ones that reached critical mass, but if they show any type of velocity. And velocity can be defined by sheer volume of users, publishing, (if they have) access to more than basic information, complaints."
Facebook also has reined in the ability of apps that formerly were unrestrained in the amount of information they had access to. Now, in order for an app to get access to data beyond what Facebook considers basic information needed for people to search for others on the site, the app must get explicit permission from the user. But Wisniewski said users should have the ability to pick and choose the access rights they want any particular app to have to their data.
"When it comes to privacy stuff they make you opt out, but when it comes to security you have to opt in," he said.
Asked to comment on the privacy concerns, Sullivan said there was a lot of misinformation about Facebook’s marketing practices and that, for example, the company does not turn over user information to advertisers.
"Our objective is to give users choice and make sure that choice is transparent, and if a developer wants to say I need these 10 pieces of information for my application, you don’t want to force the developer to change their product," he said. "We want to help the user make an informed decision about whether they want to share that information."
Ultimately, the debate centers on what trade-offs Facebook chooses to make to be able to keep growing the platform by attracting developers and ad revenue, and whether users are willing to accept those business decisions.
"Fundamentally, their business is advertising and targeted advertising based on your interest and your profile. Whatever data you upload to their site is grist for the mill so they can sell advertising," said Andrew Walls, a research director at research firm Gartner’s security, risk, and privacy group. "They’re doing a fair job of exploring the space between privacy expectations of consumers, the business needs of Facebook, and what society at large wants to see happen down the road."
The Dia dos Namorados (lit. “Day of the Enamored”, or “Boyfriends’/Girlfriends’ Day”) is celebrated on June 12, when couples exchange gifts, chocolates, cards and flower bouquets. This day was chosen probably because it is the day before the Fiesta Junina (Saint Anthony’s day), known there as the marriage saint, when traditionally many single women perform popular rituals, called simpatias, in order to find a good husband or boyfriend. The February 14’s Valentine’s Day is not celebrated at all, mainly for cultural and commercial reasons, since it usually falls too little before or after Carnival, a major floating holiday in Brazil — long regarded as a holiday of sex and debauchery by many in the country — that can fall anywhere from early February to early March.
Internet radio company Pandora filed a registration statement to go public on Friday afternoon, according to a release. The number of shares to be issued and pricing information has not yet been determined, but the underwriters of the IPO are investment banks Morgan Stanley & Co. and J.P. Morgan Securities.
The wildly popular Pandora, which uses a “music genome” algorithm to create custom radio stations based on a single song or artist and offers paid subscriptions as well as a free, ad-supported version and a suite of popular mobile apps, has had a spectacular rise as well as a brush with death when it appeared that licensing fees might doom it entirely. In the fall of 2008, delays on Capitol Hill meant that crucial legislation about royalty fees Internet radio stations might take so long that a company like Pandora could run out of money first.
It’s been one of the few success stories in the digital music world, which over the past decade has been littered with financial failures and piracy-related lawsuits. Now, it’ll join a mini-boom in technology IPOs, entering the ranks of Demand Media, which went public last month, and LinkedIn, which filed for an IPO shortly thereafter. A handful of others, like Facebook—currently valued at $50 billion—and Groupon, are said to be waiting in the wings.
Microsoft is said to be on the brink of another shuffle among its senior management.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer plans to make changes to the company’s senior management in order to improve the company’s competitive edge in Web services, smartphones, and tablet computers, according to a Bloomberg report that cites unnamed sources.
Those changes, Bloomberg says, will be announced “this month.”
What remains unclear is whether the changes will bump out any of the existing division heads, in place of talent from within or outside of the company, versus changing the number of business units and their executive make-up. Bloomberg did say that a central part of the company’s plan was to “promote managers who have engineering chops and experience executing on product plans,” which would imply moving someone at the top to make way for that promotion.
A Microsoft representative declined to comment.
Microsoft has a long history of making changes to its management structure. While Ballmer has stayed at the helm for a little more than 11 years now, the company has made drastic changes to the number and depth of its business units.
Microsoft’s last big management shuffle took place back in October, with Ballmer naming Kurt DelBene to the head of Microsoft’s Office Division, Don Mattrick to the head of the Interactive Entertainment Business, and Andy Lees to the head of Microsoft’s Mobile Communication’s business. That was following the departures of Stephen Elop, who left to become the CEO at Nokia, as well as Robbie Bach, who retired from his spot as the president of the Entertainment and Devices unit last May.
More recently, the company had a shake-up in its Server and Tool Business, with the company announcing the planned departure of Bob Muglia, who had served as president for the division. Muglia had been promoted just two years prior as part of Microsoft’s elevation of the server unit into a larger part of the company’s business.
t’s seems like people have always been hardwired to laugh at the misfortune of others. It transcends all cultures, nations, and ages. As you read these words, a group of school kids in Hong Kong are peeing their pants laughing at a kid who did a faceplant into a mud puddle, somebody in Paris is guffawing at a guy getting a whifflebat to the crotch, and a grandma in Texas is chuckling under her breath at a cousin who doesn’t know his fly is undone. As long as it isn’t happening to you, personal humiliation can be totally hilarious.
Before the Internet, the only way to experience these hilarious events was to be in the right place at the right to time. But, now there is a whole slew of websites that document the hurts, humiliations, and downright stupidity of the human race and present it in an easily navigated format. Here are the 10 funniest websites that traffic in human misery:
10. People of Walmart
The biggest retail chain in the world, WalMart offers its customers a wide variety of consumer goods at reasonable prices in convenient locations. According to the blog People of Walmart, it also is the last refuge for every freak and weirdo in the United States of America. Every day the site posts disturbing, yet fascinating, pictures of the outlandishly attired folks who shop at WalMart. The site has built up an archive of the unbelievably awful ways people dress even though they know other human beings will be able to see them. It’s revolting, funny, and strangely hypnotic. Don’t visit the site unless you have at least an hour to descend into the world of skin tight pants on 300 pound women, mullets of all shapes and sizes, and more pictures of old guys in drag than you ever thought possible. Also, it’s probably not a good idea to check it out on your lunch hour.
9. Fail Blog
Everybody screws up sometimes. If we’re lucky, no one is around to see our mistakes and we can carry the failure buried deep within ourselves next to the guilt and shame. If we’re unlucky, some jerk is going to film the whole thing and put it on Failblog- a collection of people making stupid yet laugh-out-loud funny mistakes. There are tons of videos of dudes trying to jump off walls, do crazy bike tricks, or generally wow their friends with some amazing act of daredevilry that ends in gut-busting tragedy, but the real hilarity comes from the seemingly endless photos of mislabelled products and signs that apparently litter stores and restaurants across the nation. From terrible misspellings and grammar bombs to unintentional double entendres, Failblog shows that you don’t need a bike and ramp on your roof to screw up in a hilarious way. Although that can really help.
For those of you who don’t know it, Etsy.com is a website for people who want to sell their handmade crafts. For a small fee, they can put up ads that show the world the things they’ve made. Some of the stuff is great and was obviously made with care by people who really love making crafts. Unfortunately, a lot of the stuff is complete garbage. To save you the trouble of searching through it all, Regretsy.com combs through the crafts and finds the best of the worst. Whether it’s horrible clothing, ugly art, or just plain old junk, Regretsy.com finds it and brings it to you in all its cheap, kitschy glory. Not only is it an amazing collection of crap, but it’s also a great document of just how disillusioned people can be about their own talent.
7. Awkward Family Photos
A great family photo can be a cherished keepsake that forever freezes a particular time in your life and serves as a memory of the happy times you shared with those closest to you. You hang it on the wall and for years it makes you feel good just to look at that symbol of the love you feel for your family. An awkward family photo forever freezes a particular time when everyone in your family looked like a huge dork at exactly the same moment. At Awkward Family Photos, they have a huge archive of terrible, terrible photos that families have taken together. There are shots of fashion disasters, bizarre group poses, weird props, and all manner of embarrassing snapshots of moments that shouldn’t have been captured by anyone. It’s a perfect site to visit when you’re sure your family is the strangest on the planet. Trust us, you’re not even close.
In a few short years, Facebook went from being a place for Harvard jerks to organize tennis games to a worldwide phenomenon that even your grandmother knows how to use. With that astronomical explosion in use, it stands to reason there would also be an astronomical explosion in the number of moronic posts and pictures. And of course, there was. Unfortunately, unless you have a few morons on your friend list, most of that sweet stupidity will never appear on your newsfeed. That’s where Lamebook comes in. A repository of inane status updates, ridiculous comment battles, and ill-advised pictures, Lamebook brings you the best of the worst of Facebook. And the best part is you don’t have to be friends with any of these goofs.
To some, the ubiquity of cameras has turned society into a collection of voyeurs obsessively recording and watching every pointless and irrelevant occurrence of daily life. While that may be true, it also has ensured that just about every moment of rib tickling jackassery will be recorded and available for public consumption at the click of a mouse. A great collection of such moments exists at Youidiot.org. The site takes a no-frills approach to funny fools. They find the videos or pictures, post them, and that’s it. It’s perfect if you’re busy but need a quick look at somebody doing something incredibly stupid to helpget you motivated for the day.
4. My Life Is Average
Sure it’s easy to get on one of these sites if you are a major jackass, but what if you’re just an everyday, run-of-mill loser? My Life Is Average is the place for you. Forgoing the flashy faceplants and splashy sex texts, My Life Is Average catalogues the mundanities of life. They aren’t terrible, but they aren’t that great either. Entries usually involve minor annoyances or tiny victories, the kinds of things that happen to everyone every day. The reason it belongs on this list is that millions of people are posting and rating the most basic occurrences of life. Now if that isn’t stupid, what is?
3. Passive Aggressive Notes
But videos of frat guys falling off roofs aren’t the only dumb but funny things you can find on the Internet. Sometimes all it takes is one person to be so upset by the actions of another that they do they only thing possible, write a stern note. At Passive Aggressive Notes, they have a huge collection of notes written by people who were angry enough to want to confront someone, but too wimpy to actually do it in person. These Postit crusaders wage a never-ending battle against those who don’t change the toilet paper, steal milk from the office fridge, or generally intrude upon the way they think the world should be. It’s a hilarious collection of impotent rage and shaky grammar. But then you obviously know that because you’re so smart, right?
2. F My Life
Sometimes, life is pretty good. Other times, it’s like a smirking chimp throwing rotten fruit at you while it has sex with your wife. For those less than perfect days, F My Life is there to make you feel better. An open site for people to post the mundane or horrible things that happen to them, you’re guaranteed to find someone who has it worse off than you. From inconsiderate partners, spectacular bad luck, to just the plain old drudgery of daily life, F My Life is a perfect place to remind yourself just how good you have it. Unless of course you search the site and can’t find anyone whose life is worse than yours. In that case, the least you can do is post yourself and let some other poor bastard feel a little better about their miserable existence. If by some small chance things are always going really great in your life, you can always stop by the site to laugh at the poor bastards who don’t have it so good.
1. Texts from Last Night
As convenient as text messaging is, sometimes the “send” button can be your worst enemy. Whether you’ve just sent that explicit message about the whipped cream and leather harness to your dad, or accidentally thanked your girlfriend for the amazing night of sex you didn’t have with her last night, texts can be disastrous, humiliating, and very funny. Add a little alcohol and lack of sleep to the equation, and you have a recipe for some of the greatest cringe humor on the web. Texts from Last Night collects millions of embarrassing, rude, and downright idiotic texts from all over the world. Anyone can submit their failure totally anonymously (all you have to include is the area code) and share their deepest regrets and screw ups with the entire world. They can also post texts about how awesome they are or what a great night they’ve just had, but they aren’t half as interesting as the ones where they sleep with their cousins.
Washington businesses would get a break on this year’s unemployment taxes under a bill approved by the state Senate.
The plan is projected to save Washington employers about $300 million by halting a planned increase in unemployment insurance rates. It also extends federal unemployment benefits for about 70,000 jobless Washingtonians.
The unemployment tax break is a priority for Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire. She says it has to pass both chambers of the Legislature and be signed into law by Feb. 8 to have an effect on this year’s unemployment tax rates.
Senators approved the bill Friday by a 46-1 vote.
Labor groups have also advocated for a new $15-per-child payment for jobless families, but businesses are wary of adding more benefits. That will be debated later.
Horoscope Hang-Up: Earth Rotation Changes Zodiac Signs (Whew, I'm still an Aquarius)
If you’re the type of person who relies on mysterious-sounding locations of stars to determine your personality and outcome in life, get ready to be shocked.
The field of astrology, which is concerned with horoscopes and the like, felt a major disruption from astronomers, who are concerned with actual stars and planets. The astronomers from the Minnesota Planetarium Society found that because of the moon’s gravitational pull on Earth, the alignment of the stars was pushed by about a month.
"When [astrologers] say that the sun is in Pisces, it’s really not in Pisces," noted Parke Kunkle, a member of the group’s board. Your astrological sign is determined by the position of the sun on the day you were born, so that means everything you thought you knew about your horoscope is wrong.
It turns out that astrology has had issues from its inception. (Aside from the fact that it tries to link personality traits with positions of the stars.) Ancient Babylonians had 13 constellations, but wanted only 12, so threw out Ophuchicus, the snake holder. Libra didn’t even enter the picture until the era of Julius Caesar.
According to the Minnesota Planetarium Society, here is where the real signs of the Zodiac should fall. Get ready for your world to change forever.
Capricorn: Jan. 20-Feb. 16. Aquarius: Feb. 16-March 11. Pisces: March 11-April 18. Aries: April 18-May 13. Taurus: May 13-June 21. Gemini: June 21-July 20. Cancer: July 20-Aug. 10. Leo: Aug. 10-Sept. 16. Virgo: Sept. 16-Oct. 30. Libra: Oct. 30-Nov. 23. Scorpio: Nov. 23-29. Ophiuchus: Nov. 29-Dec. 17. (Yep, this one is new — read all about the Ophiuchus way of life here) Sagittarius: Dec. 17-Jan. 20.
Is this For Real? Google is Not Happy That Bing is Copying Their Search Results
After noticing curious search results at Bing, then running a sting operation to investigate further, Google has concluded that Microsoft is copying Google search results into its own search engine.
That’s the report from Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan today, who talked to both companies about it and presented Google’s evidence. According the report, a mechanism could be the Suggested Sites feature of Internet Explorer and and the Bing Toolbar for browsers, both of which can gather data about what links people click when running searches.
The story began with Google’s team for correcting typographical errors in search terms, which monitors its own and rivals’ performance closely. Typos that Google could correct would lead to search results based on the correction, but the team noticed Bing would also lead to those search results without saying it had corrected the typo.
Next came the sting, setting up a “honeypot” to catch the operation in action. Google created “one-time code that would allow it to manually rank a page for a certain term,” then wired those results for particular, highly obscure search terms such as “hiybbprqag” and “ndoswiftjobinproduction,” Sullivan said. With the hand coding, typing those search terms would produce recognizable Web pages in Google results that wouldn’t show in search results otherwise.
Next, Google had employees type in those search terms from home using Internet Explorer with both Suggested Sites and the Bing Toolbar enabled. Before the experiment, neither Bing or Google returned the hand-coded results, but two weeks later, Bing showed the Google results that had been hand-coded.
Google isn’t happy about it.
"I’ve got no problem with a competitor developing an innovative algorithm. But copying is not innovation, in my book," Sullivan quotes Google Fellow and search expert Amit Singhal as saying. "It’s cheating to me because we work incredibly hard and have done so for years but they just get there based on our hard work…Another analogy is that it’s like running a marathon and carrying someone else on your back, who jumps off just before the finish line."
Google brought its concerns to Sullivan shortly before a Bing search event today. Coincidentally or not, Google just shifted that event’s agenda significantly.
Stefan Weitz, director of Microsoft’s Bing search engine, shared this response with Sullivan: “Opt-in programs like the [Bing] toolbar help us with clickstream data [information that shows Microsoft what links people click on], one of many input signals we and other search engines use to help rank sites. This ‘Google experiment’ seems like a hack to confuse and manipulate some of these signals.”
Hack, experiment, or honeypot, it’s very revealing. Google created about 100 such hand-coded results, Sullivan said, so it’s hard to imagine the act distorting search results in any significant way. The next relevancy question will be to see whether Microsoft concludes it’s time to update its own search algorithm so that a Bing search for “hiybbprqag” won’t lead to ticket information for the Wiltern Theatre anymore.