If you doubt that the e-mails you send on your office personal computer might be open to scrutiny by your boss, think again: "Almost 33...

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If you doubt that the e-mails you send on your office personal computer might be open to scrutiny by your boss, think again:

“Almost 33 percent of 140 North American businesses nationwide report they conduct regular audits of outbound e-mail content,” according to a 2004 study by Proofpoint, a messaging security technical firm in Cupertino, Calif., and Forrester Research, based in Cambridge, Mass.

The study also shows that 43 percent of the companies “employ staff that monitors outbound mail” — even if reviews are not done regularly.

My advice: Don’t write anything in an e-mail that you wouldn’t want to see on your office bulletin board — or announced over your company’s loudspeaker.

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Dollars and sense

There are several terms involving how workers are paid that many employees — and employers — often ask me to explain.

Here’s how the Monthly Labor Review, a publication of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, defines them:

“Total compensation” includes wages, salaries and the employer’s costs for employee benefits.

“Wages and salaries” refers to earnings before deductions, including production bonuses, incentive earnings, commissions and cost-of-living adjustments.

“Benefits” includes the cost to employers for paid leave, supplemental pay, insurance, retirement and saving plans and legally required benefits, such as Social Security, workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance.

Excluded from “total compensation” are such payments as tips and free room and board.

Managers and gender

Some good news on the managerial front:

“Regardless of the gender of the boss, 70 percent of 1,246 workers — 567 women and 679 men — rated their supervisors as excellent or good,” concludes a survey by Hudson, a professional staffing firm headquartered in New York. The not-so-good news is that 65 percent of those studied work for men and only 31 percent work for women — the remaining 4 percent had multiple bosses.

That less than one-third of employees surveyed had a female manager is proof that a “significantly smaller share of executive and management jobs are held by women,” observed Alicia Barker, vice president of human resources.

But Barker is encouraged by the high percentage of those approving of their supervisors, regardless of gender.

“We are encouraged to see that the myth about gender and leadership roles has been challenged,” she said. “In fact, women are no better or worse than men [as managers].”

Here’s looking at you

“People tend to form immediate impressions of each other,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam, a staffing service based in Menlo Park, Calif.

And that’s why Domeyer advises that when it comes to your attire for a job interview or to work every day, it’s important “not to wear your heart on your sleeve. … Political or cause-related T-shirts and buttons are not appropriate for the office. Even if your dress code is casual, steer clear of items that could potentially offend someone.”

Especially the boss.

Moving up

“Congratulations! You’ve made it into the executive suite … and that’s the good news,” according to Phyllis Mindell, author of “How to Say It for Executives: The Complete Guide to Communications for Leaders” (Prentice Hall Press, $15.95).

“The bad news is you must lead. You might give speeches. You must persuade. You must negotiate. You must inspire, motivate and foster growth in others. You must participate on teams. You must deal with obnoxious people. You must comfort in hard times.”

Mindell, who has a doctorate in education, concludes: “In short, you must gain followers.”

E-mail questions to Carol Kleiman at ckleiman@tribune.com. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.