Emma Jacobs

One poor woman is performing a song at a social media conference. Wait for the chorus: “social”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itvvFfeLh84#t=86 Read more

Emma Jacobs

Companies expanding overseas have made great efforts to counter past mistakes of corporate imperialism – rather than merely exporting home grown staff and products they make an effort to adapt to local culture and consumer tastes.

McDonalds, for example, offered vegetarian burgers and samosas in Gujarat, where most citizens are vegetarian. In New Delhi, it sold the Maharaja Mac with lamb and chicken for non-beef eaters. It also recruited local managers in New Delhi, which helped the company negotiate bureaucracy. Read more

Emma Jacobs

Marian Robinson with Barack and Malia Obama

Michelle Obama’s secret weapon for this week’s China trip has been unveiled: she is taking her mother Marian Robinson along, as well as her two daughters. Dubbed “grandma diplomacy“, it is seen as a way of charming the Chinese, who place greater emphasis on tight family bonds than their American counterparts. Read more

Emma Jacobs

Following the recent news that some investment banks had decided to make working conditions more palatable for junior employees, one former intern emailed the FT a poem he wrote last summer while completing a stint at a bank.

The Commute

On rings the cow bell,
Bringing cattle to their shed
Buy sell, buy sell
Work, work, work until you’re dead.

 Read more

Emma Jacobs

Steve Jobs has joined Lenovo. Well, almost.

Actually the truth is only a little less outlandish. Ashton Kutcher, the Hollywood star of Two and a Half Men, who recently played the Apple co-founder in the poorly-received biopic Jobs, is the Chinese computer group’s latest recruit: a product engineer. Read more

Emma Jacobs

A recent blog post in the Harvard Business Review raised the one of the most annoying and common problems of modern day office life: the “‘busy’ humble-brag”.

Everyone, just everyone, complains about how busy (or tired) they are at work. No one can even be plain busy – they are “slammed” or “buried”, writes Meredith Fineman, a publicist. Each employee, she says, is locked in a competitive battle of hyperbolic one-upmanship.

Ms Fineman’s favourite humble-brag (a brag because, of course, it also shows your importance) was “that of a potential client who apologized for lack of communication due to a ‘”week-long fire drill’. What does that even mean? Does this mean there were fake fires, but not real ones, all week? Does calling it a ‘drill’ mean that everything is okay? Is your business in flames? Should I call someone?” Read more

Emma Jacobs

The revelation that candidates for a job at Currys, the UK electronics retailer, were asked to dance as part of the interview process, recalls David Brent’s worst excesses. But at least the mythical manager in The Office chose to humiliate himself.

As 21-year-old graduate Alan Bacon told the BBC: Read more

Emma Jacobs

In today’s Working Lives feature I spoke to four novelists who quit banking and law to write. A few found their former careers fertile subject matter for fiction.

After the financial crash, some writers addressed the issue raised by Sir Howard Davies, former director of the London School of Economics and chairman of the judges of the Man Booker literary prize, who complained that there was a dearth of British novelists showing any interest in business. Out came John Lanchester’s Capital, Sebastian Faulks’s A Week in December, and Justin Cartwright’s Other People’s Money. In the US, Jonathan Dee’s The Privileges, and Union Atlantic by Adam Haslett featured bankers. Read more