Beware the Compliment-Spewing Boss

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Next time your boss drops by your cube to slather you with praise, be afraid. Be very afraid.

He may be among the 74% of managers who believe praise can serve as a substitute for money in motivating employees. And that “attaboy” could mean “no bonus for you.”

That’s according to a survey released today by Sirota Survey Intelligence called “The Enthusiastic Employee: How Companies Profit by Giving Workers What They Want.” The survey also found that 62% of bosses believe “employees who complain about their pay are really unhappy about something else.”

Right. You’re in the corner office asking for a raise because you had a lousy childhood.

Those deluded managers might see an exodus of talented but undercompensated workers next year. Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the Chicago-based outplacement consultancy, says high-paying jobs in some sectors will go begging for qualified applicants in 2007.

Hot jobs next year will include those in sales, support staff in the legal sector, personal trainers and transportation workers in trucking and rail. And the pay for some of the jobs break the six-figure mark.

As always, white-collar workers with four-year college degrees will nab the best of these openings. John Challenger, CEO of the firm, points out that just 1.8% of those workers are currently jobless, while the unemployment rate stands at 4.3% for high-school grads. For those with some college or a two-year degree, unemployment is 3.3%.

You don’t need parchment from the Ivies to land a good job in this economy, though. Language courses at the community college might make for a better investment: interpreters of tongues like Korean and Arabic are in great demand, particularly in polyglot urban centers.

Or how about working on the railroads? Challenger says Union Pacific is sending recruiters around the country to scour for workers.

They ought to find some takers. After all, nobody doesn’t like a fat paycheck. Praise is nice, but it doesn’t buy the Cheerios.