I Just Work Here

One person's meeting is another's lunchtime

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Meeting time

Why do people on the East Coast always seem to forget that the rest of the country isn't on EST? (Michael Tercha/Tribune file photo / September 22, 2010)

LaSorsa said he believes companies should stay away from social-media background checks, relying on more traditional approaches and on the ability of an interviewer to tell "if the person's half-baked or not."

"What is the benefit of looking at somebody's Facebook?" he said. "Are you trying to see if they're just a blabbing idiot? Do you really care on Saturday if they go out and get hammered? If they do their work on Monday, does it really matter to you? Is it worth the increased risk?"

Drucker said the solution for job seekers worried about their online activity being scrutinized is simple: "Don't post racist remarks. Don't post pictures of yourself doing drugs. Don't post pictures of yourself holding weapons or bombs. This stuff is not hard."

Q: As a Minnesota guy, I really look forward to my daily lunch of hot dish, lutefisk and deep-fried cheese curds. However, it seems several times a week someone schedules a webinar or insists a meeting be scheduled at 1 p.m. EST. You'd think our East Coast brethren would be more considerate about not scheduling everything over our lunch break. Is there some psychological advantage to being fat and happy while your audience is distracted by growling stomachs?

— Joel in St. Paul, Minn., via email

A: I imagine this is just another case of the East Coast feeling insecure because it doesn't have as many states that start with "M." But for further insight, I spoke with Susan Friedmann, author of "Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies."

"I get very frustrated because people just don't understand time zones," she said. "They think that whatever time zone they're in is the one that everybody's in. They don't know if they should be adding or subtracting an hour or two. I just don't think that people are cognizant enough about it."

She did add that the East Coast has long been viewed as the primary time zone, but that may be waning with the prevalence of webinars and teleconferenced bicoastal meetings.

"It's a big issue," she said. "All the different time zones need to be noted to make it work."

And Friedmann said it's important that you stand up for your right to peacefully consume lutefisk: "If a time doesn't work, you need to just say, 'Hey, sorry, that's my lunchtime. Can we do it later?'"

Q: Dear Rex: My colleague has ugly feet. And wears flip-flops. Can I hack her feet off with a machete?

—Seth in Montreal, via Twitter

A: Because you live in Canada, you are allowed to do that, as long as you apologize immediately post-hacking. And don't use a sharpened hockey stick. That would be too cliche.

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TALK TO REX: Ask workplace questions — anonymously or by name — and share stories with Rex Huppke at ijustworkhere@tribune.com, like Rex on Facebook at facebook.com/rexworkshere and find more at chicagotribune.com/ijustworkhere.
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