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Loose change

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 12, 2002

YEAH, WRITE: First there was the Rorschach inkblot test. Now comes . . . the ink color preference test. A survey of 645 workers links the color of the pen ink they use to job performance. Purple-pen users pitch in to help, even when not asked. Users of red ink are the most likely to have been recently promoted or given a raise. Men who use erasable pens are least likely to work extra hours without pay. Don't know what to make of it? Neither does Pilot Pen Corp., which commissioned the survey. "We don't quite know what all this means," chief executive Ron Shaw says. "Frankly, we are quite flummoxed."

LONGER HOURS: It doesn't just feel as if you're putting in more hours at the office. You are, according to Management Recruiters International. Nearly two-thirds of 1,742 managers and professionals polled work late three to five days a week, and almost a third work late at least once a week. MRI chief Allen Salikof says recent layoffs have increased managers' workloads: "They are feeling the pressure to meet the growing demand of not only getting their own jobs done, but those of laid-off colleagues as well."

SAFETY SELLS: A run on gas masks and respirators after the Sept. 11 attacks helped Mine Safety Appliances Co. achieve record earnings for its first quarter. Some of MSA's gas mask products have sold out and the company has boosted production and employment. The company expects even better results through this year as increasing attention is paid to national security.

REWARDS NOT NEEDED: Three out of four Americans say the lure of frequent flyer miles or other reward points matters little when they decide whether to use a credit card for a purchase. And in a telephone survey of 1,000 people by the Cambridge Consumer Credit Index, two out of three said they don't even have credit cards that offer rewards points or rebates.

WHERE THE TEENS ARE: The Employment Policy Foundation of Washington says nearly 60 percent of employable teenagers -- about 8-million -- will join the labor force this summer. The retail sector, including restaurants, is the biggest draw. The other 40 percent will spend the summer traveling, going to summer school or doing volunteer work.

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