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Keep Germs Away From the Office


It is that time of year when colds and the flu move quickly through the workplace. You try to avoid your co-worker in the next cubicle as you hear coughing and sniffling. Even if you are armed with hand sanitizer, disinfectant spray and vitamin C supplements, germs can still spread. Then the next thing you know, you are coughing, sneezing and have a fever.

Even with the early signs of a cold or flu, workers will not stay away from the office. According to a CareerBuilder survey that questioned at least 3,700 workers, 72 percent of employees will go to the office when they are under the weather. It seems that more than half of workers (55 percent) would rather suffer through the day than experience the guilt from calling in sick.

The germs definitely multiple at a fast rate through an enclosed office. Fifty-three percent of respondents have gotten sick from a co-worker who arrived at the office feeling sick. And 12 percent of workers have been exposed to germs on their commute to the office via public transportation.

"It's important for employees to take care of their health and the health of others by staying at home if they aren't feeling well," says Rosemary Haefner, CareerBuilder's vice president of human resources. "Even if workers feel pressure to be at the office, they should talk to their managers about staying home if they are sick or ask about other options, such as working remotely.

"Most employers are flexible and understand that employees are more productive if they are feeling their best."

How do most workers avoid spreading germs? Thirty-eight percent of respondents got their flu shots this year. And other precautions include: washing hands often, carrying hand sanitizer and using it often, cleaning their keyboard, phone, desk, etc. on a consistent basis, keeping away from handshakes and avoiding meetings with co-workers that are sick.

CareerBuilder offers these suggestions for staying healthy in the workplace this season:

— Don't spread your germs. Try to stay home. If you must come to the office, please try to work away from others. Cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze. And remember to wash your hands regularly.

— Manage stress. If your increased workload starts to cause more anxiety, it is important to stay healthy by taking breaks, exercising or doing yoga or meditation.

— Discuss situation with management.

Make sure you understand how your sick days are used. If necessary, you can offer to telecommute or call into the office, but it is important to rest and take it easy.

Your boss and co-workers will thank you for staying home. Please don't feel guilty for not coming to the office. Keeping the germs away will be better for the company in the long run.

For more information, visit


With unemployment still at a high level, job seeking can be a very frustrating process. But underemployment affects even more workers — unemployed workers as well as employed workers who still can't make ends meet. How can job candidates stand out among the numerous applicants?

Audrey LeGrand, author of "How to Get Out of Job Jail: Eight Ways to Have the Career You've Always Wanted," says that your resume is important to avoid being stuck in the "job jail" of underemployment.

"Your resume could be landing in the recycle bin across corporate America because it was not thought out, laid-out or carried out correctly," says LeGrand. "Job jail is a particularly sneaky trap, because many of us land in it without ever realizing it. Whether our hours have been shaved from full time to part time, or we've struggled just to get two low-paying jobs to replace the one higher-paying job we once had, it can be almost impossible to escape once you've been locked in that cell.

"The first thing we should all do in the new year is to take a new look at our resumes, because they represent the first time a potential employer considers us for a new job."

LeGrand has these suggestions to give new life to your resume:

— Pay attention to spelling and grammar. Use spell check and have someone else edit it. You want to avoid typos and grammar errors. Take the time to be eloquent and informative.

— Use a decent-sized font. Avoid using a font size that is too small to read. Try to keep the resume format to a page.

— Be truthful. Practice honesty when it comes to employment dates, degrees earned or career accomplishments. Some prospective employers will perform background checks.

— Target your industry. Don't send your resume to any company. Narrow your search to positions in which you qualify and where you could see yourself working.

— Demonstrate why you want the job. Tell the perspective employer why you are more qualified than other applicants. Describe your achievements.

To find out more about Amy Winter and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



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