You were right: Some jobs do stinkIf you plan to spend the...

WORKPLACE & CAREER

September 03, 1993|By Kim Clark | Kim Clark,Staff Writer

You were right: Some jobs do stink

If you plan to spend the Labor Day weekend cursing your job, consider this:

As bad as your job may be, it is not, in all likelihood, the worst job in America.

That would be diaper sorting.

A survey released this week found that from a list of bad jobs, Americans said that sorting dirty diapers for laundry services ranked -- and we do mean ranked -- worst of all.

Dennis Rabinowitz, owner of Modern Diaper Service of Alexandria, Va., concedes that the job can be kind of smelly.

But it's not that bad, he insists.

"We provide a lot of ventilation, it is a steady job" and "you have the satisfaction of seeing the things cleaned," he said.

"I don't think it [diaper sorting] is quite as bad as dusting," which is his least favorite job, Mr. Rabinowitz said.

Mr. Rabinowitz, whose company serves much of Maryland, says he's not insulted by the findings of a survey by Windsor Canadian, the whiskey maker. And it won't make him change the job.

"We'll just keep putting our nose to the grindstone," he said.

Asked if he really meant that, Mr. Rabinowitz laughed and said: "Well, we're not actually putting our nose there."

'Top employee' video program is honored

Layoffs were eroding morale at Maryland Public Television in Owings Mills, and the organization's "employee of the month" program was becoming a stale popularity contest in 1992.

So Gladys Kaplan, director of human resources at the station, decided to try something cheaper, fairer and more fun -- that has won her a national award for creativity from the Society of Human Resource Managers.

The 44-year-old Reisterstown woman was praised by the trade organization for replacing the old monthly contest with a quarterly search for a "star employee."

Every three months, one division is polled for the qualities that determine an outstanding worker. Those traits are then listed on a ballot along with the names of the division's employees.

While the division votes, someone on the staff prepares a short, lighthearted video about it.

One recent show, for example, was a flashy music video set to a rap song written by one of the staffers.

At quarterly meetings of the station's 225 employees, Ms. Kaplan plays the video, then names the star employee. The winner gets a $50 check and an MPT jacket.

Ms. Kaplan said many workers at first hated the idea.

They thought it was "too hokey" and "too silly" to use an award and video program to improve morale when workers were justifiably upset about layoffs, she said.

The quarterly "star employee" program probably costs the ornization less than the former monthly awards, because MPT has television equipment and workers volunteer to produce the videos.

Ms. Kaplan said other managers have started to call her about the program since she won the award this spring. While MPT has an advantage, any company can do something like the star program, she says.

Someone at work may have a video camera at home, for example. Or, for even less money, someone can take still pictures and make a slide show.

She warns, however, not to expect too much from small programs like the videos and prizes.

They can make jobs and meetings a little more fun, but, she said, "these are very difficult times.

"There are no quick fixes."

More job seekers use Maryland service

In another sign that plenty of Marylanders are still seeking work despite the steadily declining unemployment rate, the state's job service has announced it saw a record number of job seekers in the 12 months that ended June 30.

The Maryland Job Service referred 99,444 unemployed Marylanders to job openings in its 1993 fiscal year, the agency reported.

Half of them -- 49,432, (another record) -- found jobs.

Compensation insurer says its costs escalate

Maryland's workers compensation insurers are paying out less money every year -- but still need rate increases, a trade group says.

In its request for an 11.3 percent increase in the "pure premium" (the amount needed to cover the cost of an injured worker's doctor bills and wage replacement checks) the National Council of Compensation Insurers said the amount its members paid out declined in 1991 -- the last year for which data is available.

The insurers need a raise because the number of people they are insuring has been declining due to layoffs and a boom in the number of employers who are self-insuring, said Marie Kinietz, spokeswoman for NCCI. The average cost of a claim rose $419 to $10,964 in 1991, mostly because of medical costs, she said.

This is the third year in a row NCCI has asked for an increase. Insurers reduced their rates for the three years following the 1987 workers compensation reforms.

Last year, NCCI asked for a 17.1 percent increase in the pure premium rate, but the state approved a boost of only 8.4 percent.

If the state's Insurance Division approves the increase, employers will see varying raises. For example, NCCI said claims in manufacturing plants would require an increase of only 8.5 percent. But construction companies might see a 20 percent rise.

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