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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Help! I've Been Sick and Unemployed for 10 Years

Dear Evil HR Lady,

How do I address and what do I say to employers about being unemployed for the last 10 years due to medical issues and hospitalizations?

It's not something I want to talk about, but I can see where I would not consider or hire a person who would not want to tell me what they've been doing for the past 10 years.

Help! I've Been Sick and Unemployed for 10 Years

photo by Foxtongue, Flickr cc 2.0

Monday, June 28, 2010

Should I Ask For More Money?

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I accepted a low-ball offer and after I got off the phone I immediately called the HR person back to try to negotiate. I left a message telling them I had some further questions, but they haven't returned my phone call in 4 days.

I received the offer letter but haven't signed it yet. Do I have any recourse? Can I try to renegotiate or would that be in bad taste?

I have until Friday to go in a sign employment papers. What should I do?

Should I ask for more money?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Obama Fires McChystal: Should You Trash Your Boss?

You're in no danger of being followed by a reporter. So is it safe for you to trash you boss?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How Do I Convince My Boss I'm Ready To Manage Others?

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I am a computer programmer by trade, but I could be best considered a problem solver. For my day to day activities, I consistently get excellent reviews. People actively seek me out for projects (as opposed to other developers) because I get them done, and do it well.

However, what I see as my best ability is the hardest to quantify - I make everyone around me better. I'm not the best programmer, I'm not the best business analyst, I am not the best at writing, and definitely not the best speaker, yet they all come to me when they have problems or need to flesh out ideas. I make projects go smoother because I help everyone on the project. Similar projects have taken as much as ten times longer, but if you put them side by side, the only obvious difference would be that I am on one. Otherwise, it just seems that everyone performed much better on that project for no apparent reason. I have no magic wand, I just help people out in a hundred little ways to keep things moving. It might be something as small as meeting with that difficult executive or tuning a slow query.

I think these skills would make me an excellent manager, but I have no idea how to highlight them. I'm not very good at shameless self-promotion and any efforts to that end have been quite ham-fisted. Less obvious ways have not worked either. How can I get an opportunity to demonstrate what I can do when I am actually in charge?

How Do I Convince My Boss I'm Ready To Manage Others?

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Job With No Start Date

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I was recently hired at a medical school library as an assistant. But I had a question about how long they are allowed to make me wait to start the position. The HR Department set my hire date as a week ago. I am in their payroll system and HR said I could start working. But the librarians will NOT give me a start date. They keep saying another person is going to start with me, and they want to wait until that happens. How long are they allowed to make me wait? They've also told me to stop following-up with them to get a start date, that they will call me when they are ready. Is this normal?

No, this is not normal.

Friday, June 18, 2010

My Coworkers are Taking Advantage of the System

Dear Evil HR Lady,

My supervisor has about 1/3 of his large staff (50+) on Family Medical Leave (FMLA). They use it intermittently, which means that they are not out for weeks at a time, but, rather, take what time they need when they need it.

For the majority, when any of them call in, it is always on a Friday or a Monday and it happens over and over, but nothing is ever done about it. In particular, I have one coworker whose abuse of FMLA and complete arrogance towards any rules goes beyond comprehension. He arrives at work late, then stands around and chats with the people for 15, 20, or even 30 minutes or longer before he starts any work. Other times, he will make it look like he's working and continue to talk, talk, talk, but management rarely says anything to him. He frequently leaves the floor and has been caught watching television and eating when he should be working.

So, what do you do when your coworkers are taking advantage of the system?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Is that Job Posting a Lie?

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I recently applied for a Career Counselor/Coordinator position. I received a phone interview on a Friday as a preliminary to the in-person. During the conversation the interviewer admitted that it was more of a case manager position. That following Monday the position was retitled and re-posted as a Case Manager. This also happened previously when another agency posted an ad for an Office Manager, and during the interview I discovered that they really wanted an Payroll-HR/Office Manager. Both were non-profits, but is this the normal now? I thinking of withdrawing my candidacy for the former scenario because something just smells dishonest. Your thoughts?

So, Is That Job Posting a Lie?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Is Networking Dead?

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I have been on the search for over 8 months. I know business inside and out and was once president of a company. I can’t get a job at a lower level. I know what I’m doing, but, I’m starting to wonder about “networking.” I wonder, could it just be the new buzzword? Do any of you realize that there are virtually no jobs available in this economy, and talking to those of you have jobs is not going to make more of them appear?

This is coming from a person who has also fired, laid off and hired thousands, like you. I am beginning to become very, very frustrated hearing this very tired statement about networking. We are networking to talk about about potential jobs that are simply not available, in industries that have been shipped over seas. In the meantime, the money has run out. Until some job creation happens, there are no jobs to network about. I have networked with so many people, that all my friends and networks of friends are beginning to think its just sad.

I am beginning to wonder if anyone else is feeling the same way out there, or am I just a crazy old guy out here?

So, Is Networking Dead?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Is This How You Solve Problems?

I'm sure I'm the last person in the world to post this video, but I swear I have seen situations just like this. Oh no! A Problem! Bad!

My favorite part is where they wait for 3 hours to see if it gets better.

As a caution, there is a very bad word near the end, which you all know I don't like.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

And the winners are:

Sorry for the delay. Evil Marketing Man has been traveling, but I have the winners now. Please send me an e-mail at evilhrlady at gmail dot com with your address (and real name) and our New Yorker Friends will send you your calendar!

Here are the winners:

Charles for the stupid grade inflation policy

Dilletaunt for the policy of calling back Katrina victims every hour

Monkey for her no calendars policy (who thinks this stuff up)

Teri for her brilliant response to the pantyhose policy


Anonymous for the no e-mail Friday Haiku.

Thanks for playing!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Swearing at Work

You have a great employee who occasionally says some naughty words. Should you ask him to stop or ignore it?

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Visual Resumes

I got an e-mail from Vizual Resumes, which I'm sure my fellow HR bloggers also got. Now, I'm going to lay aside my prejudice against people who use misspellings on purpose, and say this:

These resumes look awesome.

I find this one visually appealing:, but the content isn't worth much.

I like this notebook paper style: and the writer is a graphic designer, so it seems good.

But, do resumes like this help anyone other then, say, a graphic designer? I admit, if one of these appeared on my desk I'd look it over. (Given, of course, that I was hiring people, which I'm not). But, with so much done online and with recruiting software, would this hinder you?

Has anyone received (or written) a cool looking resume that gets you results?

My official position is, by the way, that you should not use your resume as a time to think outside the box. But, perhaps I'm wrong.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Unemployed? Then Don't Bother Applying

The blogosphere is in a tizzy over job postings that specify no unemployed people should apply. Go read why you should stop freaking out.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Should I Tell a Potential Employer About My Medical Problems

You're applying for jobs where transcripts are required, but you have some bad grades because of medical problems. It's all cleared up now, but should you tell as an explanation?

Come read my answer over at BNET.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Drug Taking HR Manager

I need some advice. What should you do if you see your boss take drugs(prescription pain killers that do not belong to her) and your boss is the HR Manager?

There are a couple different answers to this question. The first answer assumes this is an ongoing problem. If she's regularly popping prescription pain killers that belong to other people (who?) and you're sure it's not just an old jar that she keeps her Tylenol in (are you?), then I would document the heck out of it, and take it to her boss.

I'm assuming since you've seen her doing this, she's doing it at work. Your workplace undoubtedly has a drug free work force policy (administered by, ironically, your boss).

Once you've turned over your documentation to her boss, it's time to let it go. If you see her directly taking medicine out of a prescription bottle with somebody else's name on it, you can say, "Oh, Susan! I think you grabbed the wrong bottle this morning. That says James Smith on it." This will ensure that she'll transfer her illegal pills to a more legal looking container.

Once you've reported it to her boss, it's not your problem. Continue to document and do your best work, but if her boss chooses not to deal with it, you're pretty stuck.

The second answer is if this is a one time occurrence. How many of us have bottles of prescription pain killers in our bathrooms? I know people who have narcotics left over from surgery or broken bones or childbirth or whatever that just sit in their medicine cabinet. While it is still illegal for someone else to take it, I don't think it's a huge deal for a family member who has a killer toothache and has already called the dentist, but the dentist can't see her until 4:30 to pop one of those percosets. (Yes, illegal. I'm not advocating illegal activity. I'm just saying that I wouldn't set about to destroy someone's career and reputation over a toothache solution.)

If that's the case, I'd totally ignore it, unless she's operating heavy machinery or something. (And HR people are more likely to be shuffling papers than driving forklifts, so you're probably okay.)

If it's serious, report her to her boss. If it was a one time thing, give her a dentist recommendation because toothaches can really, really, really hurt.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

5 Ways to Screw Up Your Career

There are lots of ways to be successful. But there are a few ways that are almost guaranteed to destroy your career. I discuss 5 Ways to Screw Up Your Career over at BNET.