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Here's why you might want to stop using smiley faces in emails

Think you’re being nice when you add a smiley face to the end of your email? According to one study, you could be conveying something else. 

>> Read more trending news 

The new study, titled the “The Dark Side of a Smiley,” examines the “effects of smiling emoticons on virtual first impressions.”

Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel found that, contrary to popular belief, virtual smiley faces are not a suitable replacement for an in-person smile.

In fact, “smileys do not increase perceptions of warmth and actually decrease perceptions of competence,” the researchers found. 

The study, which involved 549 participants from 29 countries, tested three experiments to gather findings. 

One experiment revealed that when the gender of the email sender was unknown, recipients assumed it was a woman if the sender used a smiley face. This finding did not correlate with participants’ conclusions with friendliness or competence.

Another experiment found that not only do recipients of professional emails with smiley faces generally view senders as less competent, they’re also less willing to share important information with the sender. When considering two emails that are exactly the same with the only difference being that one includes a smiley face, the one without the emoticon is more commonly effective.

“The study ... found that when the participants were asked to respond to emails on formal matters, their answers were more detailed and they included more content-related information when the email did not include a smiley,” said Dr. Ella Glikson, a post-doctorate fellow at the BGU Department of Management, Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business and Management. “We found that the perceptions of low competence if a smiley is included in turn undermined information sharing.”

Although using smiley faces in professional emails could hinder communication in the workplace with new or unknown contacts and coworkers, the practice is more acceptable and less harmful when used with workplace buddies.

“People tend to assume that a smiley is a virtual smile, but the findings of this study show that in the case of the workplace, at least as far as initial ‘encounters’ are concerned, this is incorrect,” Glikson said.  “For now, at least, a smiley can only replace a smile when you already know the other person. In initial interactions, it is better to avoid using smileys, regardless of age or gender.”

The concise conclusion? 

“In formal business emails, a smiley is not a smile,” Glikson said.

How long do black women have to work to earn as much as white men?

To earn as much as the average white man earned in one year, black women on average have to put in one year and eight months of work.

>> Read more trending news 

And Monday, July 31, known as Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, is the date into 2017 that black women had to work to catch up to what their white male counterparts earned in 2016 alone.

Twitter users, including several notable leaders and celebrities, took to the social media platform Monday to address the wide wage gap:

» RELATED: Delta says its pay for men and women is close to equal 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women in the United States working full-time and salaried jobs in 2016 earned approximately 20 percent less than what men in the same positions earned.

But that disparity is even worse for black women, who earn 17 percent less than their white female counterparts.

» RELATED: The U.S. doesn’t even crack the top 15 best countries for women 

Statistics show black women in particular are paid approximately 63 cents on the dollar compared to white, non-Hispanic men.

In a Fortune Magazine essay penned by professional tennis player Serena Williams on Monday, Williams calls on her fellow black women to reclaim those 37 cents.

» RELATED: Georgia among worst for women, ranking shows 

“The issue isn’t just that black women hold lower-paying jobs. They earn less even in fields of technology, finance, entertainment, law, and medicine.” she wrote. “Changing the status quo will take dedicated action, legislation, employer recognition, and courage for employees to demand more. In short, it’s going to take all of us. Men, women, of all colors, races and creeds to realize this is an injustice. And an injustice to one is an injustice to all.”

Williams also included surprising findings from a SurveyMonkey poll, including that 69 percent of black women perceive a pay gap, while only 44 percent of white men recognize there’s a pay-gap issue.

“Black women: Be fearless. Speak out for equal pay. Every time you do, you’re making it a little easier for a woman behind you. Most of all, know that you’re worth it. It can take a long time to realize that. It took me a long time to realize it. But we are all worth it. I’ve long said, ‘You have to believe in yourself when no one else does,’ she wrote. “Let’s get back those 37 cents.”

Read Williams’ full essay at Fortune.com.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and her global Lean In organization, which focuses on “empowering women to achieve their ambitions,” have also teamed up with small businesses in Richmond, Virginia; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Atlanta to offer 37 percent discounts to represent the pay gap for black women.

Woman breaks for mental health days; boss' reply goes viral

A Michigan woman who suffers from depression emailed her team at work informing them that she would be taking days off to focus on her mental health and well-being, and her boss’ response has gained much attention online. 

>> Read more trending news 

Madalyn Parker, a web developer at Olark Live Chat, took to Twitter to post a screenshot of her email communication with her co-workers and a supervisor.

In an email titled “Where’s Madalyn?” Parker told her team she’d be taking off two days to renew her mental health. 

“Hopefully, I’ll be back next week refreshed and back to 100%,” she wrote. 

Parker was surprised and delighted by one of the responses she received. She asked the sender if she could post a screenshot of the reply, and he told her yes.

“Hey Madalyn, I just wanted to personally thank you for sending emails like this. Every time you do, I use it as a reminder of the importance of using sick days for mental health,” Ben Cogleton, the CEO of Olark wrote. “I can’t believe this is not a standard practice at all organizations.”

He continued: “You are an example to us all and help cut through the stigma so we can all bring our whole selves to work.”  

Parker’s post of the conversation garnered more than 34,000 likes on Twitter and sparked conversations about companies’ obligation to provide mental health days.

“It’s 2017. I cannot believe that it is still controversial to speak about mental health in the workplace when 1 in 6 Americans are medicated for mental health,” Cogleton wrote in a blog post. “We are in a knowledge economy. Our jobs require us to execute at peak mental performance. When an athlete is injured they sit on the bench and recover. Let’s get rid of the idea that somehow the brain is different.”

Nuclear plant uses bikini contest to hire interns

A nuclear power station in Czech Republic got a toxic reaction from the public after it decided to use a swimsuit contest to hire interns. 

>> Read more trending news 

CEZ's Temelin power station posted to their Facebook page photos of high school graduates posing in bikinis and hard hats last week, USA Today reported.

The post, which has since been deleted, said the woman with the greatest number of likes would be titled “Miss Energy 2017” and get a two-week internship. 

But many Facebook users scrutinized the station, commenting on how the post was “unprofessional” and “distasteful,” CNN reported. 

The plant apologized two days later on Facebook and said all 10 of the contestants would receive internships, Fox News reported.

"The purpose of the competition was to promote technical education," the post read. "But if the original vision raised doubts or concerns, we are very sorry."

Atlanta ranked as one of the top cities to work from home

If working from your home, avoiding traffic jams and dodging endless meetings sound ideal, you're living in the right city. Atlanta has been ranked No. 5 on Realtor.com's list of top cities for freelancers and telecommuters in the U.S.

»RELATED: 7 work-at-home jobs that pay $50k or more

To come up with the rankings, the site considered several factors that affect the finances of telecommuters, including median home prices, one-bedroom rental prices and the cost of state and local taxes.

Since freelancers need to cover their own health care costs, the affordability of individual health care plans was considered along with the cost of Internet. And finally, some livability components, such as the city's walkability, the number of coffee shops with free Wi-Fi and the number of bars open at 3 p.m. per capita, were also measured.

»RELATED: These 6 companies offer legitimate work-from-home jobs

Atlanta's Freelance Forum, a group that helps freelancers network, find jobs and collaborate with each other, was cited by Realtor.com as a great resource. Additionally, the city was recognized for being one of the top 10 U.S. cities where renters can afford to buy a home, and Google Fiber's work on high-speed Internet service in parts of Atlanta was also praised.

The top 10 cities to work from home:

1. Las Vegas

2. Salt Lake City

3. St. Louis

4. Pittsburgh

5. Atlanta

6. Orlando, FL

7. Knoxville, TN

8. Cincinnati

9. Minneapolis

10. New Orleans

Now casting: Marvel’s ‘Avengers’ seeking yoga enthusiasts 

Are you ready to make your mark on Atlanta’s film and TV industry? Are you the next Tyler Perry? ATL is in need of young stars. Check out the Peach City’s latest casting call for your chance at fame. 

»RELATED: 9 big movies filming in Georgia in 2017

Marvel’s ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

This film is the sequel to “The Avengers” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Chris HemsworthChris PrattSamuel L. Jackson and Josh Brolin are starring in the movie.

What are they looking for?

New faces only are sought for the following roles:

  • Park-goers - Men and women, over the age of 18 and any ethnicity, are needed. You’ll need to be in decent physical shape since you may have to do a moderate amount of running. (Subject: CITY PARK)
  • Yoga enthusiasts – A small group of people with yoga experience is needed. (Subject: YOGA)

»RELATED: 10 reasons to seek a job in Atlanta’s TV and film industry 

When are they filming?

Filming will be in Atlanta from July 5-9 in Atlanta. You must be available for all five days, and you’ll also need to attend a fitting in Fayetteville between June 19-22.

How much does it pay?

Pay is $68 for eight hours of work.

How do I submit?

Send an e-mail to MaryLou@CentralCasting.com, and include the subject line of the role you’re submitting for. Also provide your name, phone number, sizes and current photos of yourself in good lighting.

»RELATED: Atlanta’s explosive film and TV growth, by the numbers

»RECOMMENDED VIDEO: Top movies and TV shows filmed in Georgia in 2016

 

These metro Atlanta employers are making big hires this June

If you're looking for a new job this summer, you'll find a number of metro Atlanta area companies and agencies adding new employees. A variety of jobs are open across many sectors, including law enforcement and sales.

Here's a brief look at some of the offerings this month:

»RELATED: Looking for a job? Atlanta's the place to be, study says

Fulton County Sheriff's Office

The Fulton County Sheriff's Office has 120 jobs available, including permanent and entry level positions. Some are law enforcement jobs, such as deputy sheriff and detention officer, but some civilian positions, such as administrative specialist, are also being filled. Benefits are described as being great.

To be considered for one of the jobs, apply online at www.fultoncountyga.gov.

Sheltering Arms

Sheltering Arms, an early education and child care nonprofit, is looking to fill positions at its new center as well as its other locations. The agency may hire qualified candidates on the spot at a job fair held on June 10.

Positions include lead teachers, full- and part-time assistant teachers, substitute teachers and food service managers and assistants. Free medical insurance is provided for employees.

Emory Healthcare

Emory Healthcare is a consistently large employer, with large job openings this June in everything from development and fundraising to information technology to nursing.

A hiring event will be held on June 12 for RNs with at least two years of experience and LPNs in a variety of specialties, including primary care, cardiology, oncology and neurology.

»RELATED: 8 top health care jobs in Georgia that don't require a bachelor's degree

CarMax

CarMax, the haggle-free used car seller, has openings for over 60 positions in the metro Atlanta area in June, including detailers, sales consultants and collection specialists.

The company was named one of the top large workplaces in a contest by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Workplace Dynamics that utilized employee surveys to determine the rankings.

DeKalb County School District

As the third largest school district in metro Atlanta, DeKalb County has over 15,500 employees. The district is currently hiring qualified certified teachers for the 2017-18 school year.

To be considered for a position, attend the district's career fair on June 13 or submit your application online.

Lowe's lays off more than 100 employees, outsourcing to India

Mooresville, North Carolina-based home improvement retailer Lowe’s announced Wednesday that it has laid off about 125 employees in the information technology department. 

>> Read more trending news

The jobs were cut primarily from the company's corporate headquarters, officials said.

Company officials said most of the jobs will be moved to India. 

“Not all of those will be moving,” said Jackie Hartzell, director of public relations, according to the Mooresville Tribune. “We decided to move the responsibility of some of our back-office IT work to our employees in Bangalore (India) to reduce redundancy and respond faster to the changing retail environment.”

The affected US employees were notified Wednesday morning. 

“We will provide support to help our impacted employees make the transition to new employment, including competitive severance pay and access to outplacement resources,” Lowe’s said in a statement.

The company will host a job fair for displaced employees, the Mooresville Tribune reported.

In February, the company laid off 525 employees, including approximately 430 from the corporate office in Mooresville.

The moves in February were part of the company’s effort to create a more efficient operating structure for corporate-based positions.

In January, the company announced 2,400 full-time workers were laid off mostly at the store level, with other cuts at distribution centers, customer support centers and vice presidents at the company’s corporate office.

A spokeswoman said the January layoffs affected less than 1 percent of the workforce.

On its website, the company lists 2,355 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

10 things new grads should know before starting first jobs

As colleges across the country wrap up classes, final exams and commencement ceremonies, it’s time for new grads to find new jobs.

>> Read more trending news

If you’ve landed one, congratulations! Take a minute, enjoy the moment and read these pointers to help you get ready for the real world:

1. Your boss is a valuable resource

A smart boss will take the time to explain the job to you, provide training and monitor your progress. They aren’t your friend, so maintain professional relationships, but they, and you, should be friendly and pleasant.

A good supervisor will be responsive to your questions and help you move forward in your career.

2. Walk in prepared

No matter how much research you do, there is going to be a learning curve. But if you have a good idea of what the company does and how your role relates to that, you’ll flatten out that learning curve quickly after learning where the cafeteria and bathrooms are. Look at LinkedIn, Glassdoor and other online resources.

3. Be part of the team

You’re joining a group of people who have been working together for some time. While you might have hated doing group projects in school, you’ll need to learn how to do that now. You will likely rely on your co-workers, and your co-workers will rely on you. The most successful groups complete their tasks by working well together.

4. Hang your ego next to your diploma

Since you’re the new person on the scene, be prepared to listen and learn. Soak up all the information you can. Learn from people at the company who have experience on the job and can help get you up to speed.

As a new employee, the phrase “you have two ears, two eyes and one mouth -- use them proportionately” directly applies to you.

5. Enjoy lunch

While it is tempting to work extra hard to make a good impression, give yourself a chance to meet and get to know your co-workers. This is a simple way to build team chemistry without resorting to the painful “team-building exercises” you may have to go through.

6. Dress the part

This is office life 101: before you start, try and determine the office’s dress code and conform to it.

If you aren’t able to figure this out before your first day, err on the side of formality. Leave the extra piercings and ripped jeans at home until you get a sense of the office protocol.

7. Be nice

Having your first impression be one of a friendly, open person goes a long way. You’ll meet a lot of new people; expect a diversity of ages, backgrounds, attitudes, work habits and experiences. A positive attitude and cheerful demeanor will mark you as someone people want to be around and work with.

8. Be flexible

You might have strolled off the graduation stage with a 4.0 and an armload of awards, but that still means you’re the new person in the office. That’s going to involve doing a certain amount of menial labor to work your way up the food chain. It’s not sexy work, but getting it done with a smile will give your boss a good impression.

Flexibility, responsiveness and adaptability are all good traits.

9. Mistakes happen

You make a mistake. It happens. The worst thing you can do is try to cover it up. Instead try to find a solution and fix it.

Keep your head up, recognize what you did wrong, learn from it and do your best to ensure it doesn’t happen again. If whatever you’re doing still feels awkward, take the time to practice on a weekend or away from the office without other people watching.

10. Make the effort

The easiest path to success at your first job is figuring out what your objective is and doing your best to achieve it. Particularly for entry positions, effort is an important, if not the most important, part of the job. Be there early and ready to get started. 

>> Related: 19 mistakes college grads make when finding their first apartments

These summer internships pay more than $6,000 a month

A new report by highlights more than 10 companies that are known to offer interns more than $6,000 salaries, according to data from career site Glassdoor

>> Read more trending news 

According to the report, interns at Facebook can make up to $8,000 a month. That would amount to a yearly salary of $96,000 if it were a full-time opportunity, Glassdoor pointed out.  And according to Glassdoor’s Local Pay Reports, the median annual salary for a full-time U.S. worker is $51,350. 

Most paid college interns last year made an average of $2,600 per month, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. 

>> Related: These US cities are the best for job seekers

But these interns aren’t just fetching coffees and copies as interns are stereotypically known to do. They’re being put to work and offering valuable insight and ideas. 

Here are the top 10 companies with the highest paid interns, according to Glassdoor

1. Facebook, Median monthly pay: $8,000

2. Microsoft, Median monthly pay: $7,100

3. ExxonMobile, Median monthly pay: $6,507

4. Salesforce, Median monthly pay: $6,450

5. Amazon, Median Monthly Pay: $6,400

6. Apple, Median monthly pay: $6,400

7. Bloomberg L.P., Median monthly pay: $6,400

8. Yelp, Median monthly pay: $6,400

9. Yahoo, Median monthly pay: $6,080

10. VMware, Median monthly pay: $6,080

Google, Adobe, Chevron and Bank of America made the site’s top 25 ranking.

Glassdoor compiled the report used in its report by collecting earnings reports of companies that had at least 25 interns submit salary information between April 2016 and April 2017. 

Read more and see the full list of the top 25 highest paying internships on Glassdoor.

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