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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tag, Tag, Tag

I've been tagged. Repeatedly. First by Stephanie Black, then by Simon Meth, the Career Encourager and by Deb.

Stephanie's tag was different than the others, so I will combine. She wanted to know, among other things, what I was doing 10 years ago. Well, this was the summer between undergrad and graduate school. I was working for a pickup truck accessories company, processing orders. I sure learned a heck of a lot about truck bumpers.

Everyone else wants to know 8 random things about me. (Well, not really. What they really want to know is can they have one of the brownies in my picture. The answer is no. They have been eaten.)

1. I already played this game here. Do you people read my blog? :>) (see the smiley face--I love you all!)

2. I am currently wearing an old lady flowered bathrobe procured from Walmart for $5. It's horrendous and I purchased it with the intent to destroy it shortly after it's primary purpose ended, but the Offspring loves it, so I wear it.

3. I cannot hoola-hoop worth beans.

4. Someone contacted me about writing an article for her medical newsletter and I said yes and then I lost the e-mail. If that was you, e-mail me again! evilhrlady at hotmail dot com.

5. If I had grad school to do over again, I'd do an OD degree. I'm glad I did the degree I did because that was how I met my husband, but I wish I knew more about Organizational Development.

6. I got my official PHR scores and I got 91%, thank you very much.

7. I have two degrees in political science and I can no longer stand politics. Right now I can't stand to hear about any of the presidential candidates, let alone support one. Don't they have other jobs? I mean, especially the ones who are currently holding elected office. Shouldn't you be working? If someone from my company were running for president, I'd be having a sit down meeting with him about his excessive absenteeism and offering him the chance to resign.

8. I have about 100 first cousins. My husband has 2. I have more siblings than he has cousins.

I'm not going to tag anyone else because I am just that evil. Happy Tuesday!

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Definitive Job Hunt

Rowan Manahan has started a new writing project called the Definitive Guide to Clearing Job-Hunt Hurdles. I'm happy to be a part of it. I'll post links to the other articles as well.

I have two things to disclose.

  • I hate job hunting
  • My area of expertise is more on the firing side than the hiring side.

  • Okay, firing is a bit dramatic. Mostly I do layoffs. This technically means that the position is being eliminated and it's nothing personal. Of course, it doesn't feel like it's not personal when you are the person being told, "it's not you, it's the company."

    Truth be told? In most cases you can avoid being laid off by getting the right job in the first place. In some cases you can do everything (and I do mean everything) right and still get laid off. That's just pure bad luck and I'm really sorry about it. It happens to the best of people and it really stinks.

    But let's try to approach your goal of not getting laid off from the job search angle.

    First, research the companies you are applying to. What is their history of layoffs? How is their stock (if they are public) doing? If you apply to a company that is in a downward spiral, don't be surprised when you are kicked out the door a year or so later.

    Second, find out what your proposed department is doing. How has their productivity and revenue stream been over the past year or so? How is the turnover? Why is the position you are applying for vacant? If there are three positions available in a 10 person department you really want to know why. If those are 3 new positions, great! The department is growing. If three people have quit within the last month, this is a bad sign. Something is wrong in the department.

    It could be a bad manager. It could be a new manager and the old guard didn't like the regime change. But, it could be bad things are on the horizon and they wanted to jump ship while there was room on the lifeboat.

    Third, make sure you are good "fit." Personality counts in business. (Whether it should or not is another post entirely.) A manager that you see eye to eye with is less likely to lay you off.

    Fourth, make sure your position is valued. I have a friend who received an "average" rating at year end. Knowing she had not done average work, she asked her boss for an explanation. "[Your role] isn't important to the department, so I'll never rate you above average." Now, this manager was surely out of line, but that was the reality. You bet that if that manager has to start cutting heads, my friend is the first one out the door.

    Fifth, is there room for growth, advancement, and lateral moves? You want a job with room to grow. If you can't grow you'll be plucked before long. It's a sad truth of business.

    Sixth, does the department offer developmental opportunities? See above. No development? No career future.

    Seventh, can this job be easily outsourced? Some jobs can be. I'm not telling you not to take one, just warning you that it might be. Any job that is strictly transactional is a potential target. IT jobs are particularly vulnerable. A potential solution? Get a job with the vendor. Not saying it's perfect job security (personally, I think the outsourcing craze will end within the next 10 years), but it's a thought.

    Hasn't this been a cheery discussion on job searching? Of course, some times you just need a job and a job now that will last a year and provide you severance is better than no job for the next year. Sometimes, the things you can learn from a company will outweigh the risks. Just know the risks.

    And hopefully, once safely in your new career, you'll be able to walk by us Evil HR types with confidence-you know that package in my hand isn't for you.

    Where to get employees


    I am Working in an Electronics Security Company as HR Executive. I was in need of new Hirings and tried, Local Consultancies, Newspaper Advertisements, Campus Interviews, Referals and still didn't get a Quality Staff.

    (My Product is a Construction Magazine that is Market Leader in South and we are the only company who have Operating Authorities in 5 States in North...we need to Market that magazine in North)

    I don't know anything about your industry (publishing), nor do I know your area, but when traditional means of recruiting fail, you need to look around your office.

    Who are your successful employees? How did they come to work for you?

    Then offer bonuses for employee referrals. Quality employees tend to have quality friends. You say you used referrals, but how much were you willing to pay for a referral?

    You may have to go to an outside recruiter, someone who is focused on your industry.

    Finally, you may have to think outside the box. You say you are a construction magazine? Have you been looking for people who declare themselves as writers? Or are you looking for people who know the industry and can write? In my experience (as a creative writing minor in college) is that people who label themselves as writers first would know squat about construction.

    If you need a construction writer, I bet there are construction blogs. Try contacting one of those people.

    Have you gone to trade fairs? You said you went to colleges. Do the jobs you are recruiting for require a college degree?

    How is your pay and benefits package? If you are below industry standards you've either got to hire substandard workers or raise up your packages. If you are at industry standards and you still can't meet your recruiting goals, try going above, or adding non-cash perks, such as flextime and telecommuting.

    Recruiting is hard. You've got a challenge ahead of you. I hope it works out for you.

    Friday, July 27, 2007

    A follow up question

    Hi, HRLady,

    After reading the last entry in your blog, I start wondering what would be your take on my current situation, so here goes a question for you.

    I'm working as a contractor for a 100 Fortune company in the US, while I wait for my greencard process to complete.

    After 4 months in this position, and a few weeks of going back and forth with my superior about my frustration with the way he delegates tasks to me (no clarity of assignments and no provision of the necessary resources to get to the desired result), I decided to resign.

    The only reason I resigned is this direct supervisor, which I think lacks leadership skills (he communicates very poorly his expectations to subordinates and sometimes shows disrespect for them by not letting them know of important changes in a timely manner) and, as already mentioned, doesn't know how to properly delegate assignments to his team.

    My resignation has been communicated by my supervisor to his bosses, but I'm staying for two more months so I can finish the work I'm doing and offer some guidance to my replacement before I leave. I'm in a senior support position, and because the business partners I serve like my work a lot, other groups in the same company are now trying to recruit me.

    When I am asked by the people interviewing me (inside and outside the same company) why I decided to leave my current position, what should I say? Is it a good answer to say that my supervisor and I had different management styles and I felt I wasn't a good fit for his needs?

    Your comments will be highly appreciated.

    I believe that interviewing for internal positions is very different than interviewing for external positions. Internally, they already know your work and they know your manager.

    I think in this case a very polite, "Bob and I have different styles," would be appropriate. I imagine that the people trying to recruit you already know this--please note, they are after you to join their group, not Bob.

    Externally, you've got a more difficult row to hoe. 4 months in a position needs explanation. You may have to say the whole "different styles" thing to explain why you left. Especially since you are working towards your greencard. Does quitting this job make it more difficult to get that greencard?

    The problem with leaving a large company after so short a time is that it's difficult to state convincingly, "there weren't any promotional opportunities available" because, really, there are. And if you are looking for positions in a similar industry, with a similar size you probably don't want to give the "I'm looking for a different corporate culture."

    So, yes, overall I think you will have to mention the differences in style. But you don't insult your former (current) boss. Don't do that ever. And hopefully your resume has a longer term job prior to this position so you aren't branded as a job hopper.

    I bet, though, that you'll get hired internally and you won't have to worry about any short positions.

    Good luck!

    Thursday, July 26, 2007


    Dear Evil HR Lady,

    In the past, I have been frustrated with the silly, inane, irrelevant, and insulting questions that some of your HR brethren throw at me. It is almost as if interviews are a game to them and I am a performing chimp, wearing a silly hat and riding a unicycle for their amusement.

    How much did you make at your last position? (None of your business.) Why did you leave your last position? (Again, none of your business.) Where do you see yourself in 5 years? (Let me get out my fricking crystal ball...) If you could be any animal, which one would you be? (Ok... I have not really been asked this one. But my response might be, "Your I could crap on your shoes for asking me such an idiotic question.") Why do you want to work here? (I need a job and you have an opening.) How do other people describe you? (I don't know. I usually do not ask my friends to describe me.) What is one weakness of yours? (I have a low tolerance for stupid bullshit questions.)

    Just once I would like to let these interviewers know what I really think of them. The only reason I would ask some of these questions in an interview is to find an independent thinker who would question the relevance of the interview questions. But actually, I would never play games like that because it would be dishonest and disrespectful. The interviewers, on the other hand, have no qualms whatsoever about playing these little mind games. It is hard to psychoanalyze the interviewer and come up with the "right" answer, and I am tired of trying.

    Please give me any insight you may have regarding why interviewers would ask questions like these and possibly how to answer them.

    Thanks for listening and for your advice.

    I'm quite disappointed that I've already used my "Bitter? Party of one?" line in another post. This means instead of being sarcastic and a bit rude (one might say, evil), I'm going to have to answer your questions.

    Some interviews are silly, but for the most part, it's the best way people know how to evaluate a candidate. It's actually not a very effective way (in my humble opinion) but the other ways are more difficult and (sometimes) cost prohibited.

    But, to get a job, one must interview, and to interview successfully, one must not come across as bitter and angry about the process. Nor should one let on that you think the interviewer's questions are silly.

    First up, salary. Now, some would disagree with me on this, but the reason I would ask for your salary history is to determine whether or not this job is a possibility for you. If the job I have pays $40,000 a year and you tell me your current salary is $84,000, I know you won't be interested in going any further. But wait, you say, I want to take a pay cut because I so much want to work for Evil HR Lady! Great. Then say, "I'm looking for jobs in the $35,000-$45,000 range.

    And here's where the objections come in--ack, you've played you hand and now you're going to lose, lose, lose. Maybe. Feel free to counter the question with one of your own: What does this job pay?

    Why did you leave your last position? This tells me a ton about you. If you go on a rant about how much you hated you boss and how he was a jerk and blah, blah, blah, guess what? You've just eliminated yourself from the slate of candidates! You left it for growth or opportunity? Bah, I know this is what everyone says, but fine. I now know that you aren't stupid enough to boss bash.

    Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Have you even thought about it? What kind of career path do you want? Do you want to head into management or are you comfortable being an individual contributor. How does this particular position play into your future plans? When I'm hiring, I want someone that will be good for the company today and good for the company in 5 years. If I can't fulfill your 5 year plans in my company, maybe you aren't a great fit.

    Why do you want to work here? Really, why? Unless you are applying to Burger King, this matters. What is it about [this company] that you want. You better have done your research about the company before you answer this question. (And in the age of the internet, not having at least looked at website is also a career killer.)

    Yes, there may be some psychoanalyzing going on, but basically, we're just trying to see if you are a fit for the company and the job. We're not trying to be tricky or mean or demand that you have a crystal ball. We just want to hire the right person.

    We want that right person to be you, so stop being angry and stop being crabby and try to think about the interview from the interviewer's viewpoint.

    Good luck!

    Times Are a Changing


    The email id is sure a misnomer..having followed your blog for many months now, I have to admit, it has completely altered my image of the work done by HR professionals. Often enough, we as employees feel that the sole job of the HR department is to make our lives and jobs more difficult (solely my opinion, can be attributed to the places I worked at..). Now, it doesn't seem the case.

    My question to you is:
    There has been a lot of debate in the web2.0 space about how social media is changing the roles of media and advertising. As I look at it, the social media scenario is also impacting crucial business functions such as HR and Internal Comm. Would you concur with the above statement? Does it impact the roles of these functions and how? In your opinion, are companies geared to handle this change? With sites like Vault that allow employees to check on organisations and a host of other similar sites that allow potential employees to get an inside look before they join, I believe HR would have to reinvent itself.

    I would be grateful for your expert view.

    Well, then, it seems I have failed in my duties—HR’s sole purpose is to create paperwork and barriers to success! Plus, we like to count people by race and gender!

    Sorry, I forgot non-HR people can read this blog. I’d hate to have our secrets get out.

    Social Media and HR? Yeah, it’s made a huge difference. First of all, I’m writing this blog, which lets you in on the inner secrets of HR. (Drat! Now I can’t keep the abysmal failure that is forced distribution performance ratings a secret.)

    Secondly, we have to realize that the world has changed. HR has a reputation for being followers rather than leaders (which is the exact opposite of how HR should be. What does SHRM say? Leading people, leading organizations. We should be in front.)

    So, now we have to create and enforce e-mail policies and internet policies. We have to decide what we’re going to do about employee blogs. Do we restrict what our employees can say about the company? Do we search facebook and myspace and blogger to look at candidates? What if we don’t search, they tell us? If someone says something controversial on a blog do we not hire them?

    And about the information employees now have—salary info is more readily available, reviews about the company, sites like Linked In give you a way to find people who work in the company you are interested—and talk to them before accepting a job.

    These are all questions that a few years ago, no one would know about. Your writings in 1985 stayed private unless you managed to get them published. Even being published didn’t make that knowledge easily accessible. Today? Anybody can start a website and put whatever they darn well please out there. Do we punish employees whose private thoughts are now public? Why? Does HR really want to be the thought police? (Answer: Yes. Just kidding! No, we don’t. I don’t. Really, I don’t.)

    So, yes, I think social networking et al is something that has changed the face of people management and HR should be in front. If we’re leading people we need to make sure we’re not stumbling along at the back of the line, putting in policies only when a crisis arises.

    Wednesday, July 25, 2007

    Carnival of HR #12

    Is now up over at Ask a Manager.

    I haven't read it all yet, but so far, I'm still laughing at this post about Ask a Manager reading her employee's blog. Heh.

    The August 8th Carnival will by hosted by Ann Bares at Compensation Force.

    The August 22nd Carnival will be hosted by Wally Bock at Three Star Leadership.

    The September 5th Carnival will be hosted by Rowan Manahan at Fortify Your Oasis.

    The September 19th Carnival will be hosted by Evil HR Lady at, well, Evil HR Lady.

    The October 3rd Carnival will be hosted by Natalie Cooper at Personnel Today.

    Tuesday, July 24, 2007

    Rate My Boss

    For the record, I love my boss. I really do. She's great. And now that I'm done with my regularly scheduled groveling (in case I get outed), let's talk about your boss.

    I got an e-mail from the founder of eBoss Watch, announcing his new website. (I didn't want to list his name because who knows if his boss knows? If he contacts me again and approves the use of his name, I'll include it.)

    My gut reaction? I don't like it. The theory is you can rate your boss (good or bad) and then people can look up their potential boss to help make a decision.

    The problem is, you don't know the people doing the ratings and there are tons of reasons for the rating to be biased. Getting a low increase or a bad project doesn't mean your boss is bad, it may mean you are bad. But, because you don't know who is doing the rating, you don't know which one it is.

    I know the rate-my-professor type sites have been around for a while and I don't like them either. I do training as part of my job and have surveys filled out at the end of each class. Most of the feedback is positive and we implement any good ideas that come through. Once in a while I get a "this class stunk like rotten potatoes" (if you've never smelled those, you are lucky).

    Even though the surveys are anonymous (and done electronically, so I can't even look at handwriting), I have a pretty good idea who wrote the survey. It's the woman in the back row, who is taking the class only because she'll get her access to our HRIS cut off if she doesn't. She has spent most of the class surfing the internet and reading her e-mails. Writing e-mails too. (Do you really think the trainer can't tell when you are typing during class? We can. We're just that smart. Plus, she's the same one that has to ask repeated questions because she wasn't paying attention in the first place.)

    Those results don't bother me one bit, because they are placed in context of the other results. The problem with E-boss Watch (and similar sites) is that there is no context. I don't know the rater, the rater doesn't know me. I don't know if the rater just got a raise (and therefore is feeling all warm and fuzzy about his boss) or just got fired (and is bitter and angry).

    I agree that sometimes you can get blindsided by a bad boss, but I think there are two sides to every story. I want both sides--or at least one of the sides to come from someone I trust.

    Carnival Reminder!

    I've been out of town and then I had to spend all day yesterday reading the new Harry Potter, so I forgot to post a reminder!

    This week's carnival is being hosted at Ask A Manager, so get your submissions into askamanager at gmail dot com.

    Friday, July 20, 2007

    Fixing Bad Policies

    I just started with a small nonprofit organization and one of my tasks is to look at their classifications. The former COO had a soft heart and wanted everyone to be treated equally. Thus, she classified every employee as Exempt. Now I need to go in and make the proper changes. When I asked the Business Manager if any employee puts in OT she says no because the company allows the employee to counter the extra hours with time off. In order to talk to the Management Team about changing their current policy, I need to have a real understanding of the negatives of conducting business in this manner. Who is watching, what are the legal issues to consider?

    My first reaction? Yikes.

    Now that I've had to think about it, my second reaction is, Double Yikes.

    Being a manager is very much like being a parent. It's fine to be a parent and a friend, but when those two roles come in conflict, you always have to pick being the parent.

    It may seem "nice" to classify all employees as exempt, but it's nice in the same way letting your child eat all their Halloween candy in one sitting is nice. Fun while it lasts, but the consequences can be huge.

    Granted, someone has to turn you in so as long as you are a warm loving group you can get away with it. But, don't count on it.

    Possible punishments for misclassifying an employee and not paying overtime when due? (Incidentally, for the most part, it's okay to give comp time instead of overtime IF no more than 40 hours are worked in a week. This means if someone stays late on Monday they need to take that comp time by Friday or you have to pay overtime. You can't save it up.)

  • Fine of up to $1000 per violation
  • 6 months jail time
  • initial $10,000 fine for willful violations

  • Doesn't this sound pleasant?

    Think it won't happen to you? In 2006
    The Employment Standards Administration's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) recovered more than $171.5 million in back wages for over 246,000 employees in fiscal year 2006. Back wage collections represent a 3.6 percent increase over back wages collected in fiscal year 2005. The number of workers who received back wages in fiscal year 2006 increased by 2.3 percent over the number receiving back wages in fiscal year 2005. The agency concluded 31,987 compliance actions and assessed nearly $7.9 million in civil money penalties.

    If you want to be "nice" and classify everyone the same, classify everyone as non-exempt. Otherwise, get your checkbook out.

    Thursday, July 19, 2007

    Days off

    Hi Evil HR Lady!

    I have a question for you: I am an exempt employee traveling to Australia from CA next week for a conference. The conference starts on a Saturday and goes through Wednesday of the same week. This means I will have to work Saturday and Sunday. Am I allowed to take my weekend on the Thursday and Friday immediately after the conference (its all within the same pay period)? I get conflicting answers at work. Some say its too bad and that I simply lost my weekend. Others say that since I am a salaried employee as long as I work 10 days within any 2-week pay period I should be OK. As you might have guessed I am taking those days off anyways but have been told they will be docked from my pay because I have no more vacation days left. What do you think?

    I think your boss is a jerk.

    Unfortunately, as an exempt employee you are hired to do a job, not to work by the hour. If the job requires a weekend conference your boss is under no legal obligation to give you comp time. (Reminder, I am not a lawyer. No legal advice here!) However, he's under a moral obligation to do so, and as I said, I think he's a jerk.

    Here's some language from the Department of Labor:
    Subject to certain exceptions set forth in the regulations, in order to be considered "salaried", employees must receive their full salary for any workweek in which they perform any work without regard to the number of days or hours worked.

    So, if he docks your pay when you have a doctor's appointment during the middle of the day, or you get in late or leave early, you can remind show him this paragraph and watch him sputter.

    (Please note, for all you slacker types out there who are trying to get away with less work, this does not mean you don't have to show up at work. Part of the job requirement can be that you are in the office for specific times. Additionally, you are almost certainly an at will employee and can be fired at any time.)

    And on that cheery note, I better dry my hair and wake up the offspring so I can get to work.

    Salary Requests

    I live in a major metropolitan city and am currently drastically underpaid, so much so that over the past year I have worked up to 4 jobs at a time. Clearly, this is no way to live a life and short changes my career which I love. I've been able to cut expenses and negotiate raises enough that I merely work 2 jobs now. My combined income over the past year has been $48,000 but I am not living an extravagent lifestye by any means. Housing is very expensive in my city but it's where my career is focused.

    After a year at my primary job, I started looking for a new job (for many reasons aside from the salary). I recently interviewed at a great company but their initial salary offer was $40,000. Because of the job's location I wouldn't be able to work enough hours at my part time job to earn that extra $8,000 a year. Their offer is a 4% increase on what I'm currently earning at my primary job but still below industry average (my current salary is 10% below industry average). I've made a counter offer for $45,000K but haven't heard back from them.

    I'm wondering if and how I should deal with questions about my current income. Do I need or should I tell them that I've been running myself ragged over the past year to make ends meet? Or is it sufficient to say I need 45,000 to maintain my current standard of living?

    Your input is greatly appreciated

    Job searching is always unpleasant at best and unfortunately, I have some more unpleasant info to pass on.

    First, on the positive side: Everything is negotiable and you did the correct thing in counter offering. From your name on your e-mail I am assuming you are female and women tend to not counter on salary offers as much as men. One of the results of this is lower starting salaries. So, good job!

    Now, for the negative. How do you know you are underpaid by 10% in your current job? I ask this because you have job 1 (current) where you state you are underpaid and job 2 (new offer) which is an increase but "still below industry average." If it is then why didn't job 2 offer you a higher amount?

    I'm not saying that you aren't correct in your assumptions, I'm just suggesting that what the true market value of the job is the point at which the employee and the employer come together and agree on the salary. If the employer can get someone else with equal skills for the amount they are offering, they aren't underpaying.

    As for why you need the money? Unfortunately, companies don't care why. In job searches, it's not about you, it's about them. So, if you tell me you need $45,000 or you can't pay your rent, I'm might cry right along with you, but if that's not in my budget I can't play along.

    Are you bound to the city you live in? Lots of jobs are available in cheaper locations. If your chosen career doesn't provide enough income to meet your financial needs you have three choices--1. What you are currently doing, which is supplementing your income, 2. Switching to a higher paying career and 3. Adjusting your standard of living.

    I hope they accepted your counter and you get rapid increases and bonuses so you can quit your other jobs and follow the career you love.

    Good luck!

    Gender Differences


    This is what happens when fathers play Barbies with their daughters.

    I should have known something was going on when they came and asked me where the black markers were.
    Posted by Picasa

    Wednesday, July 18, 2007

    Book Review: Stress Free Performance Appraisals

    Book: Stress Free Performance Appraials: Turn Your Most Painful Management Duty into a Powerful Motivational Tool
    Authors: Sharon Armstrong and Madelyn Appelbaum

    One out of 8 people would rather go to the dentist than conduct a performance review, according to this lovely book. Given the moans and groans around performance appraisals, I have a hard time believing it's not 7 out of 8 people preferring the dentist.

    Although dentistry and performance appraisals are strangely connected. A trip to the dentist can be a nightmare, resulting in drugs, pain, spitting, blood and a huge bill at the end. Or it can be a quick cleaning and discussion with the dentist about his expensive hobbies that you are funding. (Wait, maybe that's just my dentist.) I think to be a better analogy, I better say a quick cleaning and a discussion with the dentist about what you can do to maintain that beautiful smile.

    According to Armstrong and Appelbaum, your performance appraisal can go either way--it's all up to the maintenance work done during the year.

    The premise is that if managers set up measurable objectives to begin with and then communicate during the year, year end performance appraisals are a snap. By instructing readers to make specific statements regarding these goals they give clear help to the appraisal writer.

    Armstrong and Applebaum give numerous examples and follow three employees (an excellent performer, a temporarily struggling employee, and a poor performer) through their appraisals, discussing how to approach each one.

    They even discuss how to write and follow a Performance Improvement Plan (which is quite helpful).

    After reading it, I do have a question of how best to apply their methods in a company with a forced ratings distribution. (I am assuming here that the average reader is not the person with the power to change that system.) I operate in a forced distribution company and let me tell you, I'm very hesitant to give positive feedback on goals throughout the year because I have very little control over what my employee's final rating will be. (If my boss decides that another group deserves extra high performers my group suffers, regardless of how my people have performed against their objectives, but that's a rant for another day.) If I've documented and discussed performance as exceeding goals all year long and then have to rate an employee average I've just lost all credibility as a manager.

    Maybe I can get Sharon Armstrong and Madelyn Appelbaum to come talk to my management...

    If you don't have time to read the whole thing, I recommend reading Chapter 7: When Appraisals Go Off Track. They list problems and give sample dialogs to help you navigate any appraisal situation.

    Overall, it's helpful for managers who are learning to be better and HR who should know better to begin with. I can't say it lives up to its claim of complete stress free appraisals (it's always stressful to tell someone they aren't doing well), but if we followed their advice we'd have a lot less spitting, drugs, and blood at year end.

    Monday, July 16, 2007

    Rewards Systems

    One of the things that HR is responsible for is implementing rewards systems. We want to reward good behavior and extinguish bad behavior. We implement Balanced Scorecards and pay for performance. We encourage managers to set goals for their employees and then rate them accordingly.

    But, what if, rather inadvertently, our rewards system punishes the wrong employees?
    California health authorities on Thursday released a study showing for the first time how many heart bypass patients die after surgery, the names of their surgeons and the hospitals where the operations were performed.

    Excellent? Right. See the next paragraph:
    Surprisingly, the state-mandated survey gave the worst ratings to some hospitals that have been regarded as among the best in the business.

    UCSF Medical Center, one of the premier teaching hospitals in the nation, was one of only six hospitals out of 121 in the state awarded a black eye in the survey -- rated "worse" than average in a statistically complicated analysis that counted deaths but gave credit to doctors and hospitals that treat sicker patients.

    Most of us HR types don't work in health care, but this can happen in all industries. How many times have you seen someone put on a "special project" and said, "boy, that is going down in flames and taking the poor sucker with it."

    I know I've seen it. Many projects that are complex have a high potential for abysmal failure, but if successful can turn a company around. When employees are assigned to a project, we know that they will probably fail, but they might succeed. Our traditional rewards structure would demand that "failure" of the project result in bad things happening to the employees.

    As a result of this, people with good potential, great ideas and technical know-how steer clear of such projects. Why take something on that could ultimately end up with being shown the door? The people willing to take it on are those who have nothing to lose. As a result, we end up with failures where we could have had success. And the up and coming stars miss the opportunity to learn the lessons they could learn from such a project.

    Make sure you don't structure things such that employees avoid the most difficult work.

    (Hat tip: Kevin, MD.

    Overtime Tricks

    I've been working as an overtime-eligible hourly temp for Company X for about 6 months. Effective Mon. 6/25, I was converted to regular PT employee (non-exempt) status. The problem, Company X timed an the temp-to-perm conversion to occur on Day 3 of the current work week after I'd already put in 17 hours as a temp and had been scheduled to work the rest of the week.

    So now I have to submit two timecards -- Timecard A goes to the temp agency for 17 hours of regular time on 6/23 and 6/24. Timecard B goes to Company X for 42.5 hours (40 hours regular plus 2.5 hours OT) that reflects 6/25--6/29.

    If my temp status had continued all week, my timecard for 6/23--6/29 would show that I worked 7 consecutive days on behalf of Company X for a total of 59.5 hours (40 hours plus 19.5 hours OT).

    Instead, Company X says the work hours prior to 6/25 "don't count"....even though they scheduled me for them! So technically, they can claim that I did not work 7 consecutive days for a total of 59.5 hours....and get by with it. So, by going temp-to-perm on Day 3 of the workweek, I forfeited what would have been 17 hours of OT if I'd just stayed a temp until the beginning of the next pay cycle.

    Company X kept pushing me to start on 6/25, leading me to believe it was so I could attend an prescheduled orientation session. Now I can see why they did it -- to save money.

    Do I have any sort of an employment/labor law case here?

    It seems like a pretty dirty trick on the part of your boss. Or it may have been accidental--perhaps the boss that assigned you all the hours wasn't the person responsible for choosing your start date.

    You could file a complaint with the department of labor, but I don't know if they would bother to take it up. Of course, if you could show that you aren't the only person they did that to, that would be helpful. On it's face, it looks tacky but not illegal (and I must remind you that this is lay opinion--I'm not a lawyer).

    In all honesty, I think sucking it up and going on with life is the best solution. If they don't pay out future owed overtime file a complaint.

    Life is frequently unfair--looks like it was unfair in your company's favor this time. Sooner or later it will be unfair in your favor.

    New Job Angst

    Dear Evil HR Lady:

    I am writing to ask your advice about a dilemma I seem about to face.

    I have a great job in the high-tech industry. I largely make my own hours, and like my company. I'm probably about 10% underpaid (according to at least two salary surveys), but I'm generally pretty happy.

    So what's the rub? The work bores me to freaking tears!

    On a lark, I recently applied for my dream job at my dream company. It's a huge, famous company, and getting to work there would be a dream come true for me (it would be like growing up a baseball fan in New York, and getting a meaningful job with the Yankees); in terms of corporate prestige/scale, think Apple or Microsoft. Moreover, the recruiter at HR volunteered the salary range to me: the minimum that she mentioned is what I currently earn.

    I first applied a few months ago. I've since been through a very rigorous hiring process (worthy of a whole other e-mail), and we've gotten to the point where they've sent me the job application and the background check is now in progress. In short, it seems quite likely that an offer will come in a matter of days.

    If the prospective employer and I can agree on a salary--I've asked for 25% over my newly raised salary at my current job--these are the things that will still make me reluctant to leave my current job: (Yes, even in the face of a major pay increase and a dream job.)

    * My freedom with hours. (Also, the commute to the prospective job would be really awful if I have to start doing 9 to 5.)

    * On a related note, the almost-complete lack of micromanagement I enjoy, serving as my own department head (though I'm only an individual contributor)

    * The better 401k match at my current job

    * One more week of PTO at my current job than at the prospective one

    * The severance I'd get if I got laid off from my current job, as opposed to nothing at the new job, at least for a few years, 'til I built up seniority again. This is especially important to me because the prospective company has had a hard time of it lately, and just did a RIF. There's good reason to think they'll have a better year this year and, especially, next year. But if not, things could get bloody.

    On a closing note: I feel that I'm in a very strong negotiating position with the prospective company. This job requires a certain, highly specialized skill set, and they've had this req open for months; people with this skill set are fairly hard to come by. I also felt that I totally nailed the interviews, work samples, and presentation. They know I'm pretty happy at my current job, although they also know my enthusiasm to work for them. I also really need to stop being underpaid: My wife and I recently had a baby, and my wife just quit her job.

    My questions, then, are:

    * Would I be out of line trying to negotiate flex time even if the prospective company doesn't currently have it (I don't know if they do or not)? This would cut the commute down to 40 mins. each way, from an unsustainable 90 mins. each way. Or even telecommuting one day a week, say after my initial 90 days?

    * Would I be out of line highlighting the risks I'm taking by giving up my severance eligibility, and asking them to guarantee me a severance package? Perhaps I could ask for a starting bonus equal to half of the severance I would have gotten at my old job? (Less money, but guaranteed.) Is there another way to propose that they help me mitigate the risk? I've heard of things like this at the exec level, but not at the lowly individual contributor level that I inhabit.

    * How can I feel my prospective boss out to find out how strict he is about time/being at your desk? I'm a very talented worker, and I work very hard, but I kind of march to the beat of my own drum sometimes. Before I sound like a total prima donna, I need to point out that this is not uncommon in my industry, and lots of workplace "conventions" kind of go out the window here. Still, I'm sure it also depends on the company. I've heard one or two things that makes me suspect that this company is stricter than some others...

    * I've read that PTO is very hard to negotiate. Do they really just expect a mid-career professional to give up his juicier time-off package, or is this more negotiable than I understand it to be? Between wanting to negotiate some form of severance eligibility and PTO, I seem to be asking to be treated as having x-number of years on the job. Am I just totally off-base?

    This is a very long note--thank you for bearing with me. As you can see, I'm totally agonizing, and I'd be grateful for any clear-eyed perspective and insights you could offer.

    Two things I want you to think about:
    1. When you currently have a job that doesn't drain the life blood out of you don't take a new job you don't want.
    2. Everything is negotiable.

    Only you can address number 1--do you really want this job or do you think you want it because you've always wanted it? Your current job is boring, but boring pays the bills and allows you time with the family. I'm not saying don't go for the new job, just saying you need to be open with yourself about what you are doing and why.

    As for everything else, it's negotiable. Sure, some companies are sticks in the mud and won't do anything out of the ordinary for anybody, but that just tells you right off the bat you don't want to work for them.

    Flex time should be fairly easy to negotiate--especially if you lay out what you've said. I used to commute down US 1 in NJ (those who live there know the special nightmare that is). I lived farther away than anyone else in the office. If I left my house at 7:00 I would role into the office around 9:00, exhausted and frazzled from the commute. If I left my house at 9:00, I would role into the office around 9:45, ready to work. My boss didn't have a problem with the latter schedule, even though I was probably the only person in the company afforded such a luxury.

    Perfectly all right to highlight the risks in leaving your current job as well. Although don't start highlighting those until after you've received an offer. Nothing turns a hiring manager off more than being told why it would be painful for you to leave your current job to come on over--before the offer has been made. (Well, hiring manager thinks, I'll just spare you the trouble and not hire you.)

    Severance is a tricky thing to bring up. (So, if I'm not valuable to you, how much will you pay to get rid of me?) You're right that executive types frequently have "change of control" agreements (if the company is bought out) or "golden parachute" clauses in case it "doesn't work out." From what you've said, it's doubtful you'll be able to negotiate any thing like that. However, asking about the company's stability, especially in your area. In many layoffs, some entire departments escape unscathed while in others, the entire group is shown the door. You want to be in an untouchable group. What projects are you working on?

    As for marching to the beat of your own drummer, it is sometimes adored and encouraged and sometimes it is hated and discouraged. Definitely ask your prospective boss about the department culture. This is probably not a question for the HR person because, unless the company is overly centralized in it's policies and procedures, managers generally get to decide how strict they will be about starting times, ending times, lunch breaks, etc.

    As for PTO, you are right. This is very difficult to negotiate. But, go ahead and try. Some companies have strange policies that would allow this.

    Get whatever perks you have negotiated in writing. I cannot stress how important this is. Otherwise, the boss the promised you the world may quit two weeks after you start and your new boss may be a Delores Umbridge type. You need the document saying you can come in at 10:00 or work from home on Tuesdays.

    Good luck making you decision!

    Thursday, July 12, 2007


    I just posted a blog about being changed from exempt to non-exempt. The same thing happened to me after working with my employer for over a year. I am an administrative assistant and during the summer months, I work longer hours. They really don’t want me to have overtime, but do pay it. My question is…do I have to take at least a 30 minute break every day? My HR Director (who doesn’t have a HR degree) told me that under the FLSA law I have to take one. In my position, most of the time I do not have time for breaks and I eat my lunch at my desk while I am working.

    Under FLSA? No.
    The FLSA does not require breaks or meal periods be given to workers. Some states may have requirements for breaks or meal periods. If you work in a state which does not require breaks or meal periods, these benefits are a matter of agreement between the employer and the employee (or the employee's representative).

    Under your state law? Maybe. I've worked in states where it was required and boy oh boy was that a tough one to enforce. Many workers (myself included) would rather forgo an unpaid lunch break and leave an half hour early. Check it out.

    What is definitely required is that they pay you for all time worked. If you are working while eating at your desk they must pay you. They must pay you for all overtime, whether authorized or not. However, they can also fire you for working unauthorized overtime (after they pay you for it).

    However, it is certainly within your manager's discretion or company policy to require you to clock out for a 30 minute break. Just make sure--if you aren't being paid, don't work.

    I Want to Be Exempt

    Hi Evil HR Lady,

    I have a question. I work in Human Resources for a casino and today was told that my status is being changed from exempt to non-exempt. When I asked why, I was told that it was because I had some clerical duties in my position (my co-worker, who has the same title as me, was told that it was because she didn’t directly supervise anyone). Of course, being the HR employee that I am, I decided to investigate this issue myself. From my investigation, I am thinking that the company is wrong. I understand that in order to be classified as Administrative Exemption, I need to meet the following criteria:

    To qualify for the administrative employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:
    The employee must be compensated on a salary or fee basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $455 per week;
    The employee’s primary duty must be the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers; and
    The employee’s primary duty includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.

    I meet the salary test. I understand that the last two criteria are a little bit obtuse, but based on reading the detailed information on the DOL’s website, I feel that I due pass that last two criteria based on the following:

    1 – I not only recruit (and by recruit I mean attending college job fairs, visiting schools and unemployment agencies, and traveling internationally for recruitment), but I also pre-screen and at times directly hire employees for my company. I also plan and implement Job Fairs for the company.

    2- A significant portion of my position is to advise directors, managers, and supervisors in the areas of hiring and compensation. By compensation, I mean that as reviews, transfers, and promotions come in, I make sure that they actions are all within our employee transfer and promotions guidelines and fall within our compensation policy. If they do not fall within company guidelines, I advise the steps to get the position or salary changed with our corporate office.

    Just based on this information, what are you thoughts? I have been doing some research for the pros and cons of being exempt and I have found that a con is that it will be more difficult for a person with a non-exempt status to find an exempt position just for the fact that it would appear that the person doesn’t have as much in depth knowledge of the job and that bothers me. I feel that my work directly contributes to the organization (I actually have over 6 years of experience in HR). I understand that overtime is a plus, but am not feeling good about this situation in general.

    I would really appreciate if you could tell me whether you think that my position sounds exempt and if so, what steps I should take next.

    Confused Employee

    I'm not going to attempt to make a determination on whether or not your job should be exempt or non-exempt. You are correct on the criteria. "Some" clerical duties does not make your job non-exempt in and of itself. Most professionals have "some" clerical duties. There are admins in my department, but I file things myself, make copies when I need them, and do other similar things. But, this is less than 1% of my job.

    Your company may be extra paranoid about classifying people. There's no penalty for giving someone overtime pay when it's not legally required, but there's a big penalty for not doing so. So, now you are overtime eligible. Yippee!

    But, I think your real problem is you feel like the company doesn't respect you for your professional abilities. They look at you and think, "gee all she does is hire people and file resumes, and copy driver's licenses and social security cards for I-9 forms. No way can we justify that position as exempt." And you are thinking, "I advise managers, travel, find quality employees, reduce turnover and provide valuable insights which allow the company to operate more effectively."

    The problem isn't between being exempt or non-exempt. It's in being respected. (Not that non-exempt jobs are not to be respected. They are, and extremely valuable to an organization.)

    Write up a job description for your job and review it with your manager. She may have no idea all the things that you do. If your manager and you agree on what your position is and they still want to keep it non-exempt, then relish the overtime.

    Keep in mind that you don't have to put on your resume: Recruiter (non-exempt position), you can just put Recruiter.


    Hello. I was contacting you because I wanted to know if you are in human resources at Costco. I am attending a university and I am thinking of pursing a career into human resources. I am thinking that if I do go into human resources, I would like to pursue a career at Costco. Any pointers or any advice? I need all the information I can get because I still have not made up my mind.

    Ummm, no. I don't work for Costco and even if I did I wouldn't tell you. I actually let my Costco membership expire as well.

    But, here is some general advice. If you want a career at Costco, go get a job there. You're in school--students are an ideal hiring population for a retail establishment. Go be a cashier or a shelf stocker or one of those people who stands at the exit and marks receipts. Anything.

    There's absolutely no reason you couldn't get a job doing that. Then, finish your degree. By that time you'll know a lot more about the business and be a much more attractive candidate for Costco HR. I don't know if they have local HR in their stores or if store manager handle most employee issues with a zone or district HR person. But after working as a cashier for a year or so, you will.

    Work hard and the store manager will be recommending you for the HR job. Slack off and come in late because it's just a retail job and you'll go nowhere fast.

    Getting a Client

    Dear Evil HR lady,

    I am planning to go into solo law practice in the near future, focusing on employment discrimination litigation. I have "blue chip" credentials and experience, and can offer large- and medium-sized companies excellent service on these types of cases, at a much lower price than the big firms charge.

    The key issue, of course, is contacting these companies and getting my name before the relevant decision makers. Getting my foot in the door, as they say.

    Based on my own experience, HR departments play a rather large role in handling EEO cases (as compared to, say, commercial, antitrust, or IP cases). So it seems to me that I should reach out to *both* in-house law departments and also HR departments. Do you agree? And what do you think are effective means for doing this? How about direct mail?

    Any insights or recommendations would be most appreciated.

    Thank you very much,

    I agree. HR is the place to go for EEO cases. Large companies have in house labor and employment lawyers. Smaller companies do not and would need your services.

    I wouldn't want an attorney that specializes in anti-trust law to be anywhere near my EEO case.

    As to recommendations, network, network, network. Getting your name before the decision maker is going to involve having someone else recommend you. Unless the HR person is actively looking for an attorney to handle EEO problems something that shows up on her doorstep without a personal recommendation is not going anywhere.

    What you are looking for is a job--not a traditional employee job--but a job nonetheless. So you tell everyone you know about what you are doing. Watch the video over at Rowan Manahan's place to understand the value in this.

    Wednesday, July 11, 2007

    Carnival of HR #11

    The latest and greatest Carnival of HR is up over at HR Thoughts, hosted by Lisa.

    Hop on over!

    The July 25th Carnival will be hosted by the Manager at Ask a Manager.

    The August 8th Carnival will by hosted by Ann Bares at Compensation Force.

    The August 22nd Carnival will be hosted by Wally Bock at Three Star Leadership.

    The September 5th Carnival will be hosted by Rowan Manahan at Fortify Your Oasis.

    The September 19th Carnival will be hosted by Evil HR Lady at, well, Evil HR Lady.

    The October 3rd Carnival will be hosted by Natalie Cooper at Personnel Today.

    Let me know if any of the rest of you wish to host. Think of the fame and glory that will come your way! You can even put it on your resume: Hosted Carnival of Human Resources. Think of the number of job offers you can get with that! If you've previously hosted and would like to host again, let me know.

    Evil HR Lady's Helpful Travel Tips

    1. When dealing with people who can arrest you, detain you, search you, confiscate your stuff or generally make your life miserable it is best to be polite.

    2. When you are dissatisfied because you believe the number of people working is too small for the amount of people to be processed, do not complain to the people described above, about how incompetent the system is and how "since you are paid by my taxes you work for me!" The person working did not make up the schedule. If he did, then chances the reason that person is working is because someone didn't show up. He would love to have more people working, he just can't get them there magically.

    3. 10 minutes in a customs line is not going to kill you.

    4. If you feel you must complain about standing in a line for 10 minutes while the customs agent efficiently processed you, write a letter to someone when you get home. Even if he was incompetent (which he wasn't!) it's not like he's going to take your complaints to his boss and say, "Hey, boss, these people came through my line yesterday and they said I was an idiot. Will you fire me?" No, that information is going no where.

    5. It just makes you look like a jerk. Really, it does.

    6. My final travel tip--fly Swiss Air business class. Really. Wow. Such service I have never known.

    I'm glad to be back. Regular blogging will commence once I start the laundry.

    Friday, July 06, 2007

    Job Search

    Dear Evil HR Lady,

    I have a simple question for you. I responded to an ad for a paralegal and fortunately I received a phone call from the HR manager. He asked a few questions and then he wanted to schedule an interview for the next day. I explained that I was not available that day but that I would be available the following week ( he wanted to interview on Friday). Anyway he said he would have to check with the attorney's schedules and that he would call me back I have not received a call yet. Should I be worried? It has only been two days. Thank you for your time.

    PS. I did not want to call him because I thought I would look desperate. I am really interested in this position.

    Two days is nothing to worry about. Scheduling interviews is darn hard--coordinating schedules can be a nightmare. Give it a week. You are right not to look desperate--but you want to look interested. How to do this precisely, I do not know.

    I think this is my shortest answer ever!

    Title Mania


    I have an extremely ambiguous position and non fitting job title. And I'm looking for a new job. I read in a previous post that it's your company policy to only disclose title and dates. Due to this, issue I am altering my title to reflect the tasks applicable to the job I am applying for. (interactive marketing specialist when applying for an interactive marketing role). I don't lie about the actual role or what I accomplished, but just the title. I don't want to talk to HR or my boss about changing it, because I fear that they will see no real need for me and fire me.

    1. Is this a common practice? What is the law on HR disclosing information about previous employees?
    2. If a potential employer finds out about this, what are the chances that I will have a chance to explain?

    Thank you!

    p.s. I love the blog. It's insanely informative!

    Titles are a funny thing. I once had the title, Functional Lead. What in the heck does that mean? Really. I could never place it on salary surveys. I hated putting it on my resume because it meant nothing.

    On the other hand, when my husband was only 1.5 years out of school he got a job offer with an advertising agency. His proposed title? AVP. Wow, you are all saying, impressive to be an Assistant Vice President only 1.5 years out of school! Except that because it was an advertising agency everyone's title was inflated because clients don't want to meet with a junior person.

    When I worked for a very small company the Sr. Vice Presidents all made between $60,000 and $70,000 per year. Now that I work for a Fortune 500 company the Sr. Vice Presidents make---well, lets just say a lot more than that.

    My point on all of this? Titles don't matter as much as you think they do. Granted, it's an easy way to figure out what someone did at a quick glance but any competent recruiter will know to look beyond title.

    My standard reply is don't lie. It can only lead to trouble.

    However, titles in systems (what a call to HR would verify) are not necessarily what is on your business card. For instance, 3 people may have the identical title of Director, Marketing. Those three people may have on their business cards, Director, New Product Marketing; Director, Market Research; and Director, Marketing Acquisitions. It would not be lying for these three to put this title on their resumes.

    The question to ask yourself is, "if they called my current boss to verify my title and they read off what I have on my resume, would he say 'yes' or 'no.' If it's no, then don't do it.

    You said, as an example that you used the title "interactive marketing specialist," but you didn't specify what your true title was. If it's "marketing specialist" then you are okay. If it's "specialist" then it's okay. If it's "Accountant", then you are not okay. If it is "Accountant," I would write on your resume. Accountant (interactive marketing specialist) 2003-Present.

    Now, as to answer the explicit questions you asked.

    1. There is no law saying what can and cannot be disclosed, but there are things most companies will and will not do. SHRM encourages companies to relay information about the person's performance--things that are documented that is. And while most companies have explicit policies on what can and cannot be shared by HR, most reference checkers are going to be calling your former boss anyway and it's doubtful he cares what the rules are.

    2. Anytime you need to ask the question "what bad thing will happen if I do this?" you should rethink doing it. If I feel like you've lied you won't get the job and you'll probably get fired.

    Unless your boss and HR are extremely vindictive and looking out for a reason to fire you, I don't understand why going to them about a potential title change would result in ill feelings. I would approach it this way. "Bob, you know, my title is Accountant and I haven't done any accounting in years. I'm really more of an interactive marketing specialist. Would it be possible to update my title to reflect that?"

    If you really feel like you'd get fired for that, then don't, but otherwise, what do you have to lose?

    Carnival Reminder!

    Time flies when you are having 4th of July fun (it rained the entire day here!). So, next week's carnival is at HR Thoughts, hosted by Lisa.

    Send your submissions to lisaandbill (at) clearwire (dot) net. And invite a fellow HR blogger to participate!

    Thursday, July 05, 2007

    Why Oh Why Law School?

    Dear Evil HR Lady,

    Love your blog- well-written, funny, insightful.

    I have a Masters in Human Resources and now a J.D. I don't want to practice law (no work-life balance), and would like to work for the Fed gov't instead doing labor relations (interesting, potentially better work-life balance). But I have yet to hear back from anyone. I'm also applying to private sector companies and have received very little response. I think it's because I'm top heavy in education, light in experience (1 year full-time as an HR rep, and a few internships). Anyway, my question is, how should I package myself to employers? It seems like I have too much education for entry level positions, not enough experience for mid-career positions. I don't want to end up as the most educated Starbucks barista in town. What to do? Oh yeah, and my wife is going back to school in the Fall and we have to find something in one of 3 cities by August for that to happen this year. Good times all around. Thanks for any insight you can offer!

    So, here is the obvious question: Why did you go to law school if you didn't want to be a lawyer? I mean, really, why? Think back and figure out why you decided to go.

    As for the lifestyle of a lawyer, all law jobs are not the same and an in house labor and employment lawyer will have a much less hectic schedule than the Jr. Associate at Begge, Borrow and Steel, Attorneys at Law. When you are in house, you aren't worried about billing time. A smaller law firm may also provide a more relaxed atmosphere.

    I'm not pushing you to take advantage of your law degree, but let me tell you, in order to get a good salary you will probably have to. You are worth more to me as a lawyer than you are as an over-educated HR person. Not that over education is a bad thing, it's just that you aren't as valuable.

    Have you passed the Bar for the states in which you plan to end up? Start studying.

    When you stay labor relations are you talking about union relations? That's a complicated area and you should be able to find a job in that, but you'll do better as a lawyer. (I think--someone out there (Mike Doughty maybe?) correct me.) The people who negotiate with the labor unions tend to be lawyers. The people who deal with the day to day grievances and provide general HR services to union members tend not to be.

    Your best bet for the job of your choosing? Networking and signing up for the Ask the Headhunter newsletter.

    If you decide to go the non-lawyer route, give clear salary expectations (and do your homework to find out what those should be) so that your resume doesn't get thrown out because you are "too expensive."

    Good luck and I hope you find a great position soon.

    Monday, July 02, 2007

    8 Random Things

    Keeping on the me theme, I got tagged twice, in the same day, for the same thing. It's a sign. Gautam Ghosh and Lesboprof both tagged me to play 8 Random things about me. Now, previously I did a meme on 5 things about me. So altogether you'll know 13 things about me, which is probably far too many. But, here it goes.

    1. I lost 38 pounds last summer at Weight Watchers. I even did a podcast about my weight lost with Anna Farmery at the Middle Aged show. I was hesitant to post it because I got all freaked out about admitting that I was once fat. But I'm not fat any more. So there.

    2. My husband has a google account and occassionally he uses my computer, logging me out and logging himself in. I then make a comment on a blog and it comes up under his name instead of mine. Oops! So then I have to delete the comment and make another comment under my own name, but I know the owner of the blog gets an e-mail with his name on it. So, if you've ever gotten two e-mails in a row that are identical and the second is from Evil HR Lady, you know my husband's first name! Please keep it a secret.

    3. I teach the adult Sunday School class at church and I love it with a passion. If only I could get paid for such a thing.

    4. My husband and I are Geocachers. This is a great hobby although it always results in excessive whining from the Offspring who prefers not to be dragged through the woods. It is so difficult being a child.

    5. I eat soup for lunch when I'm in the office.

    6. I buy most of my clothes at a thrift store. I am frequently complemented on my outfits and I love to say, "I got this for $2 at the thrift store!"

    7. I'm totally addicted to medical blogs. Totally. Especially emergency room ones. I could never be in medicine though--too wimpy.

    8. My job share partner is having a baby this month, which means for 12 weeks I'll be all alone in my job and I'll have to work more hours. I plan to hire a cleaning service to compensate for the extra time I'm going to be spending working.

    So, there are my 8 things. Now I will tag 8 other bloggers, some of whom may not even know I exist, but I know they exist. Ask a Manager, Fat Doctor, Anna Farmery, ERNursey, Rowan Manahan, Wally Bock, Dr. Helen, and last, but not least, ExecuPundit.