Important Notice:
This site has moved to, please update your bookmarks. If you were looking for a specific post, you can use the site search option or archives at the new domain to find it. Thank you!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Five Ways to Make a Job More Bearable

Your company has not been nice ever since the economy started to go south. In fact, their general attitude is that you should just suck it up because at least you have a job. Here are 5 things you can do to make it more tolerable.

Five Ways to Make a Job More Bearable

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Petty Tyrant

So, I've written about workplace bullies before. (My HR Department Bullies Employees, Workplace Bullies, and Bully Boss.) But, nothing, and I mean nothing compares to this This American Life episode: Petty Tyrant.

Here's their description:
In Schenectady, NY, a school maintenance man named Steve Raucci works his way up the ranks for 30 years, until finally he's in charge of the maintenance department. That's when he starts messing with his employees. Teasing them at meetings. Punishing them with crummy work assignments. Or worse things, like secretly slashing their tires in the middle of the night.

The whole thing is worth listening too. And for those of us who are in the business of helping businesses with their people problem, it's a special warning that we should maybe, just maybe, listen to employees that complain about a bully boss.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I’m Sabotaging My Employees’ Job Searches Through LinkedIn Connections

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I have several recommendations from co-workers listed on my LinkedIn profile. As I’m currently shopping my resume, I’m assuming that they are being contacted by recruiters to verify employment and dig for any issues. It would explain some of the recent resentment I’m experiencing at work and some non sequiter comments from the people who made recommendations.

This leads me to question the value of a recruiter contacting people at my current employer.

If I want to get rid of a problem employee and a recruiter calls me looking for dirt… I give them a glowing recommendation. Having a problem employee quit to go to another job is much easier than firing them.

But if I have a stellar employee (and will be unlikely to be able to quickly and cheaply find a replacement), I say as little as possible. Falling back on a line like “our corporate policy is to refer employment verification requests to HR” works well enough that I’m not burning a bridge with a recruiter I may one day use.

I don’t bad mouth them (I do believe in karma), but I will withhold any information that could result in my stellar employee finding it easier to get out… at least until I have a couple of options lined up. Then I’ll help them in any way I can.

How much are “informal” reference checks used by recruiters? How much credence are they afforded? Does anyone take into consideration that the easiest way to retain an employee is to bad-mouth them to recruiters (or the converse, the easiest way to get rid of a problem child is to give them a glowing review)?

I’m Sabotaging My Employees’ Job Searches Through LinkedIn Connections

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Paycheck Fairness Act: Good Riddance

The Paycheck Fairness Act didn't muster enough votes to make it to the floor of the Senate. I, for one am thrilled. Here's why this was bad legislation in the first place.

Paycheck Fairness Act: Good Riddance

Friday, November 19, 2010

Is It Time To Ask For a Raise?

You haven't had a promised raise and the company still isn't performing at high levels, can you ask for a raise? A better question--Should you ask for a raise?

Is It Time To Ask For a Raise?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

SR: DUI, Juggling Job Searches and Offers

Please allow me to set the stage for you. Following a DUI offence, an employee is required to operate a vehicle that has an IID (ignition interlock device) installed, as required by the state (DMV), and at this time the corporation is not privy to this information. The employee is a Territory Manager, of a three state area. Driving is an integral part of the job responsibilities. If said employee contacted HR disclosing this "heavy hearted" situation with remorse and contrition; has received counseling and is an exemplary employee. Could the employee be dismissed from job responsibilities? Secondly, would the dismissal be discriminatory? (Argument: Driver with an IID would not pose a risk to public safety, and does not restrict the employee from continuing to complete all job responsibilities.)

I understand you are not an attorney and are unable to give any legal advice, however if you have any knowledge of this type of situation that could benefit someone in need, it would be greatly appreciated.

You're right. I'm not an attorney and things such as this vary from state to state, but you bet your booty I'd want you out of the company. Why? LIABILITY. I know nothing about IID, but I wouldn't want to trust a piece of electronic equipment to verify that my employee is not driving while under the influence. Since a DUI is very closely related to your job (since you have to drive to do it), I wouldn't see any problem with termination.

I'm not a lawyer, though, so you might want to check with an actual attorney (labor and employment law, not your DUI guy) in your state.

I have found myself in a very odd situation. I joined a well reputed MNC's training program after completing grad school about a year and a half ago. Lets call it company A. It was a great company to work for but the work itself turned out to be a complete disappointment. It was all busy work (mostly data entry and maintaining customer records!) and I felt I was wasting myself considering I wasn't getting a chance to develop essential skills such as critical thinking and problem solving etc. When I shared my concerns with my manager, she candidly told me that I had to wait out another 3-4 years in order to get the kind of assignments that I was pining for simply because it is a knowledge-intensive industry and values those who have done grunt work at the bottom level. Meanwhile I applied for a few jobs within the corporation but in other countries but to no response.

About a month back I landed a job at another company and the JD was exactly what I wanted to do at this point in my career. The catch is that this company (Company B) wasn't a choice employer like the MNC I worked for was. But after several marathon discussions with HR & my Manager, I resigned and completed my notice period and quit on great terms. The particular project that I was hired for doesn't start for another month and a half so I was also glad to have a break in between.

Here is the twist, 3 days after I completed my notice period, I got a response for one of my applications from the HRD of Company A's regional office in another part of the globe. I had applied for this about 3 months before resigning. They have invited me to attend their recruitment event next month. Although the vacancy I applied for wasn't listed as an 'internal opening' nor was prior Company A experience listed as a requirement but I am certain that the fact that I was coming within the organization was a deciding factor in shortlisting me. This is a a once in a life time opportunity that would allow me to work in varying business environments/cultures across the region and I definitely want to attend this event to find out more. But how would I convince the interviewers to ignore the fact that I very recently resigned from this company and evaluate me like they would evaluate any other candidate.

P.S. Company A doesn't have any policy against rehiring ex employees provided you haven't been fired for integrity violation which thankfully I wasn't.

If you haven't signed a contract with the new company, then I'd go ahead with the interview on the other job. There's no guarantee you'll get it.

If you do get the dream position, you'll have to resign the new job and you will have slammed the door shut on that company forever. If that's not something you want to do (even low-prestige companies are worth having in your pocket), then don't bother with the new interview.

I hate that that happened to you. So frustrating!

Been unemployed for 4 months and am trying to score a job in advertising. I've met a ton a people and networking everyday. In August, I got a chance to interview with a reputable ad agency who has just won a big account and thus growing. The agency is based out west and due to the size of the account they are in the process of opening up an office in the midwest.

Now the interview wet extremely well because I had some friends working at the company who told me so. Some time had passed and one of the superiors who will be in the midwest office asked to interview me, which I did. I think I did well during that interview as well. I initially checked in with my midwest interviewer after some time who informed me that he would love to hire me, but they want me out west. I mentioned to both that I'm okay with either office..just want to work. So I checked in with my interviewer out west who mentioned she would like to hire me, but is in the midst of getting their midwest office situated before getting to her own hires. Their midwest office is schedule to open in December.

So the dilemma really is...what should I do? They haven't said no and I want to work there. All my insiders have told me to wait it out and they reassured me that both bosses loved me during the interview. It's just it's taking so long. So I don't know if I should abandon hope and move on or just keep following up. It's really tough because of all agencies I've networked with, this is the best lead I have in this economic climate. Hope you can shed some light and appreciate anything you can tell me.

When you say wait it out, are you turning down other job offers or have you just stopped looking for a new job? Because there is no way on earth I'd stop looking for a job until I had a signed job offer in hand. These things fall through all the time.

If you've got other offers, then go back to this company and tell them the situation. They may be unable to move forward because they haven't made up their minds about the new office. Suck it up and move on.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

5 Ways To Resurrect Your Career

Have you ever made a big mistake?  A career ending one?  Don't be so sure. Others have resurrected their careers and you can too.  Here are 5 things to think about.

Monday, November 15, 2010

How to Set a Dress Code

I work from home, so my dress code is whatever I darn well want it to be. You, however, may need a dress code or you'll get people showing up to work in Daisy Duke Shorts. (Ask me how I know this. Okay,I'm exaggerating. I've never had someone show up to work in Daisy Duke shorts. To an interview, yes, but not to work.)

Anyway, Kevin Casey at the Intuit Small Business Blog interviewed me on Dress Codes.

Managing the Downside of Diversity: When Employees Clash

Dear Evil HR Lady,

If problems keep occurring among team members, (whether it is personalities, ages, nationalities, communication or work styles), who is best able to identify, address, and formulate solutions? Should conflict resolution be addressed by the manager or by members of the work team? What behaviors should be attempted before deciding to leave?

Managing the Downside of Diversity: When Employees Clash

Friday, November 12, 2010

Is There Hope for a Job Hopper?

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I am 48 years old with an MBA in business management from a non-traditional university. In my younger years, I would skip around from job to job as boredom would quickly overtake the excitement of a new career path. Today, I find myself unemployed after being part of a department-wide downsizing a year and a half ago.

For the past year and a half, I have been self-employed and have worked to build name recognition, but now I want to go back to being an employee. My broad and diverse background is a gentle way to express the many things I’ve done in life. I have been that front desk person, the admin person, the HR recruiter, the holistic wellness expert, the emergency room clerk, the DJ, the newspaper reporter, the entrepreneur, the tradeshow consultant, the non-profit employee, the sales rep, the disaster response worker, the staffing specialist … I even spent some time attempting to build the next QVC (obviously, that was a dismal failure!).

I have been released from, or asked to leave, five different positions. Why? Because each time I was told that since I could do the job of the CEO, the HR Director, the Business Manager, and/or the Regional Manager … there simply “wasn’t room for the two of us”. From my perspective, all I did with each position was the job I was hired to do (I hope this statement doesn’t make me a jerk).

Today I am gun-shy, so to speak. Have you come across others with this same dilemma? It is my experience that companies want their prospective employees to be an expert at one thing only; they do not want a “jack of all trades” such as I on their payroll. Am I a hopeless case, or is there light at the end of the tunnel?

Is There Hope for a Job Hopper?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Google's 10% Raise: We Don't Care About Our Employees

Usually a raise is a sign that you're valued. But when everyone gets the same raise--not so much.

Google's 10% Raise: We Don't Care About Our Employees

5 Steps to Get a Work Policy Changed

You really want change at work, but you're not a Senior VP with people to do your every whim. Is it really possible to make big changes?

5 Steps to Get a Work Policy Changed

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Maybe You Should Just Offer Reasonable Bereavement

John Hyman has an interesting post on Bereavement Leave and FMLA. Even though FMLA doesn't require time off for Bereavement, it turns out that if a manager says so, the company has to follow through. Hyman writes:

That is, it is not required by the FMLA unless you promise otherwise. In Murphy v. FedEx National (8th Cir. 8/26/10), an employee sought and received FMLA leave to care for her hospitalized husband. When he died a week later, she took three days’ bereavement leave. Thereafter, she told her supervisor she needed 30 more days to “take care of things.” The supervisor responded, “OK, cool, not a problem, I’ll let HR know.” As it turns out, the extra 30 days was a problem for HR, which denied the request and terminated the employee, who had not returned to work.

I'm not a fan of government stepping in and telling companies when they have to allow time off, but I am a fan of reasonable bereavement leave.

I mean, honestly, how often does this really happen? I'm not talking about people who suddenly manufacture 14 different grandparents who all happen to die on Fridays. In the case of a death of a spouse, a child, or a parent, I think 1-3 days bereavement leave is utterly ridiculous. Ridiculous, I tell you.

I wouldn't be able to see straight 3 days after my husband died, let alone perform quality work.

I understand that businesses need to make money and that's hard to do with people out on leave, but this is not common. It's certainly less common than people having babies or getting the flu.

If any of you have written bereavement policies that allow for long periods of time off, I'm curious to know if you've had problems. I've always worked for companies that had the silly 1-3 days off thing in the policy, but managers generally allowed the employee to take "personal leave" for up to several months. But, since it wasn't policy, I'm sure there were people who were back in a matter of days.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Why Are Salary Ranges Secret?

You really do need to know where you stand in a salary range to make wise career choices. So, why won't your HR department reveal this "secret" information?

Why are Salary Ranges Secret?

Friday, November 05, 2010

Why Aren't You Getting the Job? Because You're a Jerk

The reason you're not getting the job just may be that you're a jerk. Here's a checklist that will help you determine if you're not as nice as you should be.

(Plus a little chewing out of a rude e-mailer.)

Why Aren't You Getting the Job? Because You're a Jerk

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Your Resume Will Not Find You a Job

It's not a person that is reviewing your resume, it's a computer. Learn how to figure out what the computer wants to hear.

Your Resume Will Not Find You a Job

Monday, November 01, 2010

I Can't Get A Promotion

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I’ve been working at the same job with -1 title change for 15 yrs. My hurdle is I’m being held back -due to personality conflict. I’ve trained all new hires (4 people) including 2 bosses. They are very difficult to please & moody.

Most of my reviews are ‘barely acceptable.’ however, my boss is routinely asking me for help.

I have asked to be promoted several times…every year for 4 years. The title I requested became available but in an area that doesn’t interest me. I’ve asked HR to define my job and they said my boss has to write it. So I asked the boss to update it. He lied to me and said he did. I checked it and nothing changed (earlier this year) Times are tough.. My HR dept is not confidential. Help!!

I Can't Get a Promotion