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Best Columns: Mobile madness, Summer B-school
With our cell phones always at the ready,
T
he plight of the cell phone junkie

“Call us the never-off society,” say Wendy Tanaka and Sarah Terry-Cobo in Forbes.com. We tote our cell phones, BlackBerrys, and iPhones everywhere. For most of the 84 percent of us in the U.S. who have mobile phones—up from 13 percent in 2005—there is “no excuse anymore for missing a call, e-mail, or text message.” That’s not all good, and in fact may be a form of addiction. When a call is dropped, or the whole BlackBerry network, we panic and get irritable, like alcoholics and gamblers. And if you think it’s bad now, “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet”—wait until mobile handsets become more powerful and replace laptops. So get a jump on “cell phone overload” now: find your threshold and “set limits on usage.”

The case for a summer of nepotism

If you own a family business, and your family includes a teenager, says Eileen Ambrose in The Baltimore Sun, you should consider nepotism this summer. The labor market is “looking exceptionally brutal” for teens, and there are “financial and other advantages for both of you” in a business arrangement. You have to pay your child at least minimum wage (but not an “outrageously high” rate), and the child has to fill out a W4. There are tax advantages under certain circumstances, though, and you can use your working relationship to “impart a few financial lessons.” Finally, be sure to set expectations, like with any other employee, or your kid could bail.

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