Five Lessons Learnt This Week

We’re back with the first Five Lessons Learnt This Week of 2015! This week, we’ve learnt how to avoid the inevitable slog through your emails on the first day back, how to get fired and why the first week of January is the most deadly week of the year…

1. How to avoid being bombarded with emails on the first day back

Screen Shot 2015-01-09 at 10.46.12This one came a little late for you to avoid spending the whole of last Monday morning sifting through the piles of nonsense that arrived in your Inbox over the Christmas break, but hopefully in time to help you avoid facing a similar scenario when you return from your summer holidays.

German vehicle-maker Daimler has come up with an ingenious approach to tackling holiday email. If you email a Daimler employee while they’re out of the office, you’ll get a reply something like this:

“I am on vacation. I cannot read your email. Your email is being deleted. Please contact Hans or Monika if it’s really important, or resend the email when I’m back in the office. Danke Schoen.” 

It might sound a tad on the rude side, but Daimler insist that they get a 99% positive reaction from their contacts (probably because they wish they were allowed to do the same…)

Now that the emails-on-return problem is solved, start planning your hols for the year: we’ve picked out the Top Travel Spots for Traders in 2015

2. 2015 is going into extra time

Screen Shot 2015-01-09 at 10.47.15
The time lords in France have declared that 2015 will be longer than a normal year
– by a whole second, to be precise. The extra second will be on June 30th, when the clocks will pause for a second at 23:59:59, or, in theory, change to the previously unheard of time of 23:59:60.

Why? The extra second is what’s called a leap second, added by the Paris Observatory in order to keep terrestrial clocks in step with astronomical time – in this case, the slowing of the Earth’s rotation.

It’s not the first time a leap second has been added – they were first announced in 1972 and there have been 26 since, the last in 2012. And they tend to cause a bit of havoc with the Internet: Foursquare, Reddit and LinkedIn (among others) all crashed when the last leap second ticked into existence. Google have found a way to avoid this they call a “leap smear” – basically, they split the extra second into milliseconds and spread them out across the day to account for the extra time.

All that technical stuff is giving us a headache, so on to the important question – what are you going to do with that all-important bonus second?

There’s really no excuse not to achieve your New Year’s Resolutions this year, given that you have a whole extra second to work towards them. Stuck for ideas? Here are some Trading Resolutions You Can Keep.

3. It could be worse

Screen Shot 2015-01-09 at 10.50.13If you’ve got the January blues thanks to a combination of cold weather, the inevitable man flu, bares spaces where Christmas decorations used to be and the dreaded January health kick, it might cheer you up a little to know that there is someone out there who’s worse off that you.

Enter John Wines, New Mexico, who thought he’d hit lucky with a scratch-off instant lottery ticket, but will not be receiving the $500,000 jackpot he thought he’d won. When he handed in his “winning” ticket to be scanned, the system showed that it did not actually contain the winning numbers. A printing malfunction caused by a blocked inkjet had obscured one of the numbers, making it look like a winner. So Wines walked away without his $500,000 prize.

That’s just cruel, if you ask us.

Especially for Wines (and anyone else who need cheering up) here are the Things We’re Looking Forward to in 2015. See, it’s not all bad. 

4. How to get fired

Screen Shot 2015-01-09 at 10.51.53It turns out it’s pretty difficult for the Indian government to fire their employees – even if they fail to turn up for work. Jobs in the Indian government are considered to be jobs for life, and India’s labour laws make it difficult to fire staff for any reason other than criminal misconduct.

But even by those standards, A. K. Verma was pushing it. The executive engineer at the Central Public Works Department has finally been fired after last turning up to work in December 1990. Verma has been seeking extensions of leave ever since, and despite the extensions not being sanctioned, failed to turn in to work. However, it took a whopping 24 years of no-shows before the government employee was sacked. Reckon you could get away with that in your job? No, us neither.

Thankfully for the Indian government, state laws are now being changed to make it easier to hire and fire staff – and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has clamped down on absenteeism by making his employees sign in to work using a fingerprint scanner. Good news from employers, bad news for lazy employees.

 5. This week is the most deadly of the year

510px-Skull_and_crossbonesTo end this week’s Five Lessons on a cheerful note, a recent study revealed that the first week in January is statistically the most dangerous week of the year, with more deaths in the UK than in any other week. This is caused by a phenomenon known as Excess Winter Mortality, a problem that affects many countries and means that more deaths are expected in winter than in the rest of the year. The reasons for this are unclear. (Personally, we blame man flu.)

Thankfully, the week is very nearly over. So congratulations on making it this far…