Monthly Archives: October 2012

California’s Next Top Lawyer..

Ahh reality TV, the fierce competition, the sweet victories and crushing blows. Tears, tantrums and humiliation… Sure, it’s entertaining (with the exception of the Ridge saga), but is it the best way to hire employees?

A Californian Law firm seems to think so, with eager young legal beagles auditioning to be the “Next Top Associate.” The recruitment process (see ad below) brings the budding NTA’s together, armed with laptops and pits potential employee on employee. Assignments are dished out and one young hopeful is eliminated each day for two weeks until one remains. The last man (or woman) standing will … (cue Ryan Seacrest) Have what it takes to be Mellen Law Firm’s Next Top Associate. A Hunger Games-esque fight to the (metaphoric) death.

If you saw a job advertisement that suggested you audition for a professional position as if you were a contestant on a reality show would you? How much does this say about the slim pickings job market in the USA.. or here for that matter?

“It’s brutal, but everyone knows it’s going to be brutal, so nobody’s feelings are hurt” says Matt Mellen, the firms namesake and serial lover of reality television. It’s not all bad though- the applicants get paid for the pleasure, around  $25 NZD an hour, and in doing so, gain litigation experience in a short, sharp blast. It also “perks up” existing employees with the cold hard realisation that it is a dog-eat-dog world out there and the competition for jobs is fierce.

Sure, competition is healthy in the right dose. It can drive results and prevent a worker from reverting to sloth-mode, where just enough that needs to be done, is done, no more no less. But depending on your workplace you’re likely to have a mixture of personalities. Those who hide away from competition and those who thrive on it.  A seemingly innocent office sweepstake or game of monopoly can turn into all out war for those with the competitive streak. While competition in the right quantity is beneficial, too much can turn toxic. By pitting employee on employee, bullying can emerge. Watch this space, we have a few yarns on bullying up our sleeve.

So while debate rages in the twittersphere as to whether New Zealand does, in fact, have talent (still up in the air), the Ridge novelty fades and facebook groups are formed for the sole purpose of expressing a desire to hit Thomas from My Kitchen Rules with a frying pan; we now are being asked to fight tooth and nail for the privilege of a job.

One wonders whether maybe, just maybe, the obsession with competition based reality shows has gone too far.

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A Rugby Yarn

Q: How do you get a message home to a nation of gun ho kiwis who grew up with a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude to safety?

A: A rugby analogy

So… We fill Eden park right, four times.. For the sake of the story let’s say four Rugby World Cup matches, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.  The stadium is full to the brim. Thousands of fans, all there to see the boys in black.

But, during each game, around about the point when the crowd is thinking “Oo that’s a bit close for comfort” and ponders if the ABs can make it through a World Cup without choking, something goes horribly wrong. Panic spreads, mayhem ensues.

At the end of the weekend 100 people are dead, 25,000 have been hurt severely enough to be off work at least a week,  370 have been admitted to hospital and diagnosed with a life threatening condition  and more than 190,000 are hurt badly enough to send a claim off to the folks at ACC. Every single man woman and child that went to watch those games has been hurt. The cost of the carnage, $3.5 billion.

It’s front page news, worldwide, Thousands Maimed in Rugby Disaster, New Zealand’s Darkest Day. 

OK, so it’s a little far-fetched, no analogy is perfect, but it gets the message through. That’s how many people get injured in the workplace each year, according to the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety, the job in hand, cutting that number by 25%, one full Eden park. No mean feat.

Likely outcomes? A large-scale cracking down on those at the top, meaning heftier fines and penalties for companies and directors. Even our biggest fines fall far short of Australia‘s. ( And we all know how much we hate falling short of anything particularly when it comes to the ‘strayans).

So while we look across the ditch and ramp up our fines your company might get caught in the spotlight. The spotlight will be expensive.

Check your health and safety policy before it’s too late. Be proactive, check with us if you need help with the nitty-gritty.

Want a few more details?

Click the link below.

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