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WHEN YOU CALL IN SICK, YOU STRESS US OUT

As temperatures warm up and birds start chirping outside your office window, you might just be tempted to call in sick to work. But now there's even more reason, besides your unfailing moral compass, to suck it up and show up. Unplanned absences not only hurt your company's bottom line, they make you tense and burden your co-workers. More than half of employees report feeling more stress when returning to work after being out, says a survey of 862 working adults by workplace health management service Nationwide Better Health:

- 53 percent of employees report having more work to do when their colleagues are unexpectedly absent.

- 85 percent of respondents cited a health condition, either their own or a family member's, as the primary reason for unplanned absences. The vast majority are legitimate illnesses, though no doubt some absenteeism is because of sick-day subterfuge, said Holly Snyder, president of Nationwide Better Health.

Send us to Zurich, not Baghdad

Zurich, Switzerland, has the highest quality of life among global cities while the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, has the lowest, says a survey of 215 centers compiled by Mercer Human Resource Consulting. The survey is used to help governments and corporations to place employees on international postings, Mercer said.

- Geneva came in second in the so-called Quality of Living index, followed by Austria's capital, Vienna, Vancouver in Canada and Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city.

- After Vancouver, Canadian cities Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Calgary filled out the North American top five.

- Brazzaville in the African country of Congo, Bangui in the Central African Republic, and Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, scored the lowest after Baghdad.

Sales rep is the job in demand

If you're looking for work, try visiting your local mall. But instead of shopping for peep-toe pumps or a new tie with your dwindling cash supply, fill out an application. Sales representatives are the most sought-after employees, topping the list of the hardest jobs to fill for the second year in a row, says an annual survey of nearly 37,000 businesses worldwide by employment service Manpower:

- Rounding out the top five are teacher, mechanic, technician and management/executive, followed by truck driver, delivery driver, accountant, laborer and machine operator.

- 41 percent of employers report difficulty filling positions because of a lack of available talent.

"People are retiring and leaving the work force," said Melanie Holmes of Manpower. "The world is becoming increasingly competitive."

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