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The Toronto Sun CareerConnection

WORK MATTERS

Lunatics, limericks and some serious numbers

By Diane Janes
Career Connection Editor


Several interesting tidbits crossed my desk recently -- from surveys and job stats to just plain weird wire stories. Read on ...

My boss is crazy

(CP) -- So you think your supervisor is deranged? You may be right.

Top executives say middle managers are the most vulnerable to mental health problems, according to a recent survey.

The poll of 16 prominent Canadian CEOs also found they agreed that top corporate leaders should take responsibility for reducing problematic stress and eliminating the stigma of mental illness in the

workplace.

The survey, commissioned by the Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health, involved 16 interviews with bosses of organizations such as TransCanada Corp., Dofasco, Royal LePage, Maritime Life, Hewlett-Packard Canada and the the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

GPC Research, which conducted the survey, said the executives cited five principal threats to employee mental health: Job insecurity, pressures to balance work and home obligations, increasingly complex and constantly changing work environments, a requirement to do more with fewer resources and the effect of cellphones and e-mail in "compelling employees to live and work in a perceived 24-hour workday."
LIMERICKS NOT WANTED
OTTAWA (CP) -- Wanted. Poet. Must be Canadian resident. Pay $12,000 a year. Ability to rhyme an asset.
The federal government is advertising for a poet laureate to replace George Bowering, whose two-year term is up.
Bowering was Parliament's first poet laureate.
A job description says the new poet laureate must demonstrate excellence through a substantial history of published work. He or she must also have influenced other writers.
The job also pays up to $10,000 in domestic travel expenses and final selection will be made by the Speakers of the Senate and Commons.


The survey indicated middle managers, under pressure from above and below, are likely to be the most vulnerable to these stresses.

Paid by the note

BERLIN (AP) -- Violinists in a German orchestra are suing for a pay raise on the grounds that they play many more notes per concert than their colleagues do, litigation that the orchestra's director called "absurd."

The 16 violinists at the Beethoven Orchestra in Bonn argue that they work more than their fellow musicians who play instruments like the flute, oboe and trombone, and also say a collective bargaining agreement that gives bonuses to soloists is unjust.

But Bonn orchestra director Laurentius Bonitz said it was unreasonable to compare playing a musical instrument with other jobs.

"The suit is ridiculous," Bonitz said. He also argued that soloists and musicians in other leading roles, like the orchestra's two oboe players, should make more money.

The case is scheduled in a labour court during May.

On a serious note

Job seekers can look forward to an active job market for the second quarter of 2004 as Canadian employers reveal optimistic staffing plans in the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

According to more than 1,700 Canadian employers polled for the survey, 30% expect to add staff while six per cent plan to reduce the number of employees for the April to June period, resulting in a Net Employment Outlook of 24%.

Sixty-one per cent anticipate no changes and three per cent are unsure of their hiring intentions.

"These results are a significant improvement from the first quarter and indicate a positive climate for the second quarter," said Deborah Bakti, spokesperson for Manpower Canada. "The second quarter typically signifies an improvement in hiring plans and this quarter is in line with expectations."

The second quarter Net Employment Outlook is up one per cent from the same time last year and up 23% from three months ago when the Net Employment Outlook was one per cent, indicating a subdued start to the year.

"Atlantic Canada leads with a Net Employment Outlook of 31%, ahead of Western Canada and Quebec at 27% and 23% respectively. Ontario has the lowest regional Outlook at 21%," Bakti said.

Across industry sectors, employers in the Construction, Wholesale and Retail Trades and Services sectors are most optimistic regarding their hiring plans for the second quarter. Optimistic results are expected in the Public Administration, Manufacturing - Non-durable Goods and Transportation & Public Utilities sectors. A weaker picture is reported in the Finance, Insurance & Real Estate, Manufacturing - Durable Goods and Education sectors.

-- Sun wires



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