This week’s gurus

Calculating the impact of rising football wages

Imagine Guru’s surprise, as he struggled to balance his bank account after
yet another declined expense account claim, when he read that wages at
Premiership football clubs soared by 28 per cent last season.

Despite many teams across the land teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, it
seems the inflated wage bills at some clubs far outstrip any increases in

Manchester United alone paid its players a staggering total of £70m last
year – an increase of 40 per cent on the 2000-2001 season.

And here was Guru thinking Beckham, on a believed £90,000-a-week deal,
needed a wage rise about as much as he needed a boot in the head.


Training bonanza for dotcom’s high-fliers

Staff at internet firm Freeserve are a pampered lot. Not only are they
rewarded with twice-yearly bonuses linked to productivity, but they also get to
choose their own development plan.

And, the company also runs regular staff draws that reward the winner with
the choice of any training they want.

Winners are notified in quirky ways – with hearts being left on all the
desks for Valentine’s Day, or Shamrocks on St Patrick’s Day.

So far, those cutting-edge dotcom workers have chosen courses including
rally driving and interior design.

Guru only hopes that it wasn’t the same member of staff who won both prizes
– just imagine a budding Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen that could ruin your house,
then speed off, making good his getaway.


What top tips can you offer?

During a long and successful working life, Guru has discovered some of the
best advice often comes from the most unlikely of sources.

It was only the other day the office cleaner offered several pearls of
wisdom followed by a call to security and the removal of his temporary bedding
in the stationery cupboard.

On a similar theme, Investors in People is launching a ‘little book of tips’
for 50,000 employers, after asking UK business people for their ‘top tips’.

The usual celebrities were recruited to encourage others, with Carol
Vorderman saying "well prepared is half won" and Jack Charlton
offering the subtle "don’t tell lies".

Works of genius I’m sure you’ll agree, but what would be your top tips for
our readers? Guru will hand-pick the best suggestions and publish them on this
page. The best ones will receive … wait for it … a Guru mousemat.


Jobcentre Plus worker sues over work ties

And so the carry-on over dress codes continues.

Matthew Thompson, an administrative assistant at Jobcentre Plus in
Stockport, Greater Manchester, has taken a test case against the Department for
Work and Pensions complaining of sexual discrimination because he must wear a
shirt and tie to work.

It is alleged that women are allowed to swan about in T-shirts and one woman
has even worn a football shirt to work.

Guru understands just how confusing dress codes can be. The only time he has
been accused of flouting a dress code, he was wearing a shirt and tie. Not much
else, though, and perhaps that’s what seemed to get the staff on board the
Oriana so worked up.

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