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Monday, December 20, 2010

And the winner is...

Azure! Azure was chosen by the random number generator on which generates random numbers, should you ever need one.

Azure, send me your contact information ( and I'll connect you with the Shabby Apple People.

Thank you everybody for entering. This generated a seriously awesome list of bad advice. I'm glad I said the winner would be chosen randomly because I couldn't possibly have chosen the best (worst?) bad advice.

This will probably be my last post here for a couple of weeks, as we're off to Oman and Dubai to be warm at Christmas. Have I mentioned how awesome it is to live in Switzerland? No way could you take a quick trip from Pennsylvania to Oman. I do have 3 posts scheduled over at BNET, but I can't link to them until they go live. You'll all be too busy with holiday cheer anyway.

7 Spectacular Career Comebacks from Real People

When I wrote about wealthy and famous people who had spectacular career comebacks, several people asked, “But what about us normal humans? Those of us who don’t have millions of dollars to help us through?” Well, I asked my readers and got numerous fabulous responses. Here are the stories of people who had neither fame nor fortune, but were able to overcome great odds.

Here are normal people with spectacular career comebacks.

Friday, December 17, 2010

What if Your Work Secret Santa Gift Could Be Secret?

Do you really want to give your IT gal those awesome ThinkGeek bucky balls? Are you happy coughing up for a Bath & Body Works gift set for the CFO? Not if the IT gal turns routinely turns off her pager, and the CFO delivers his bad tidings with something like glee.

Secret Santa time may not put you in the holiday spirit. But you can deliver the well-wrapped goods and still vent your unspirited feelings. If you’re truly a Secret Santa. What if the lucky recipient would never, ever, not in a million years, find out how carefully you shopped for the gift with a well-aimed kick? Here are 6 suggestions for anonymous holiday gift giving.
First up: For the Micro-Managing Boss

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Best Resume Ever

Ever since Kerry at Clue Wagon stopped doing Tales of the Clue Free, I've been sad and looking for a replacement. I mean, I want to hear about Clue Free candidates without having to, you know, start recruiting again.

And so yesterday I found the best resume ever. The blogger, Misadventures in HR also included a handy guide so you, too, can write a resume like this. Here are some of her helpful hints:
Next, you'll need to elaborate on your previous experience. Lengthy stream-of-conscious paragraphs are preferred. If you really want to stand out, make sure you use a few different fonts and font sizes. In Sand Land, this signifies to the an employer that you are a veritable expert in MS Word - sticking to one font is the hallmark of the novice who is ignorant of the fact that multiple fonts exist. Discerning use of the Comic Sans font is a sure fire way to get yourself noticed.

I will dutifully warn that there are some words which I would squidlip-ify. But, I doubt that warning will deter anyone other than my mother.

Sheer Dress Code Awesomeness

As my regular readers know, I'm an American living in Switzerland. If I need to run out and get a job, I know precisely where to get one now. Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS). Now, why would I want to work there?

Because as far as evil HR work goes, they seem to have the best dress code ever. Seriously. The Christian Science Monitor reports:

The regulations designate a 1.5 millimeter maximum fingernail length for men, suggests that female bankers wear makeup and put on perfume directly after showering and not after lunch, advocates that shoes be changed daily to bring greater levels of “peace and serenity,” and mandates employee underwear that is skin-toned and “always made of superior quality textiles.”

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal says that UBS advises women:

"Light makeup consisting of foundation, mascara and discreet lipstick ... will enhance your personality," the code says, while advising women not to wear black nail polish and nail art.

The hair-care section notes studies have shown that properly cared-for hair and a stylish haircut "increase an individual's popularity."

And Styleite tells us that men's ties should be knotted according to the "morphology of the face." What does that mean? I have no idea.

Think of how great it would be to be in HR here--specifically if you were in charge of enforcing the dress code. I mean, I could walk down the hall and say, "Hey, Jurge, your tie doesn't match the morphology of your face!" And how could poor Jurge disagree with me? Because no one knows what that means.

And also, just how are you supposed to check up on the quality of the staff's underwear?

Hmmm, on second thought, I don't think they'll hire me. For that job, they probably want former TSA officials. They have all the underwear experience.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Job Hunting Secret: The Recruiter is Not On Your Side

Dear Evil HR Lady,

Also, what is an appropriate amount of time to wait before following up with the recruiter? I’ve submitted resumes and waited weeks before hearing anything. For some positions, that’s fine. But for the ones I really want, this feels like an eternity. Often, I never hear back at all, and this often leaves me without a sense of closure (did they see my resume? are they interviewing? will I get a call? should I keep looking? did they hire? why didn’t they choose me?) What’s proper etiquette in this situation?

Job Hunting Secret: The Recruiter is Not On Your Side

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Worst Career Advice You've Received

Would you like a free dress? A totally awesome dress, that is. One from Shabby Apple? I do, but alas, I'm not eligible for this free dress.

The wonderful people at Shabby Apple are giving away one dress to one of my readers. If you win, you can pick any dress from their collection.

I realize this is totally discriminatory and if my male readers want to get some company to offer something masculine I'd be happy to run another contest. But, think of your wife/mother/girlfriend/sister and enter! Then you say, "Honey, for Christmas I got you a new dress!"

In order to enter the contest, leave a comment with the worst career advice you've ever received. This can be advice you've received in real life, advice you've read on the internet (link please) or bad advice you've made up yourself for this contest. If you link to something I've written, claiming my advice was the worst ever you better justify it or I'll accidentally rip your entry into tiny little shreds.

The winner will be chosen at random on December 20th! I'm excited to read your bad advice. And you should be excited to get a dress.

Note:  I did check with the Shabby Apple people and they will ship internationally, so enter away.  I'm dying reading all this advice.

Entries are officially closed. If you have some "good" career advice, feel free to share, but the winner has been picked and is (drum roll please) AZURE, who posted December 15, 2010 6:52 PM.

What's Your Spectacular Comeback Story?

We read about the wealthy and famous who make big mistakes and yet are able to resurrect their own careers. Of course, it's easy for them, they've got money and connections, right? Well, yes. It's always easy to make that "risky" career move when you have a hundred million dollars sitting in a bank account just in case your venture isn't successful.

But, what about normal people? People like you. Have you ever failed? Been fired? Been kicked to the curb? If you have, and you've bounced back I'd like to hear about it. Send an e-mail to with "Comeback" in the subject line, or leave a comment here. 

On December 20th, I'll publish the best stories. If you have a company website, I'll even link to that, if you desire. Of course, if you want to remain anonymous, we can do that too.

Photo by Search Engine People Blog, Flickr cc 2.0

5 Ways to Prepare for a Layoff

The company you're working for isn't doing well, but you like your job and your boss. Are you crazy to stay? What should you do to prepare?

5 Ways to Prepare for a Layoff

Friday, December 10, 2010

Managing the Complainers Before They Sue For Discrimination

If you manage actual humans, you'll most likely run into a person who believes that whenever something doesn't go their way it's because of discrimination. Here's some help to manage them.

Managing the Complainers Before They Sue For Discrimination

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Religion at Work

Dear Evil HR Lady,

A young lady I work with is very involved in her church and likes to talk about her beliefs and all the other things that come along with her particular flavor of worship. While I don’t mind her talking about 90% of what she does, sometimes she crosses the line and goes from a friendly conversation/lighthearted debate to some pretty intense, very awkward blaming, condemning, and preaching.

Like I said before, I’m okay with her talking about her beliefs to a point, but it’s coming to the point where her constant preaching is not just annoying, but it’s causing tension to rise in my department. It’s become so bad that my coworkers have begun to ask our supervisor to schedule them so they don’t have to work with this lady.

She’s upset now because the company his having a holiday party and she doesn’t celebrate Christmas.

I spoke with my HR manager about the issues going on, but I think she is hesitant to say anything to my coworker about this because of the religion issue.

I don’t dislike my coworker, but she’s becoming almost unbearable to be around. Everyone has catered to her needs when it comes to her church activities and continues to be sensitive towards her situation. That being said, it’s becoming more and more obvious that she is using her particular circumstance to make everyone else miserable.

Is there anything I can do to keep this situation from getting worse? How would you handle the situation if you were in my shoes?

Religion at Work

Monday, December 06, 2010

Is Perfectionism Killing Your Business Plans?

Dear Evil HR Lady,

Our organization has lost several talented people. They are dissatisfied because of disparities in salaries and poor work environment. What should we do?

I think you should stop aiming for perfection and go for good enough.

Is Perfectionism Killing Your Business Plans?

Friday, December 03, 2010

Blackberries, iPhones and Androids: Do SmartPhones Belong in Meetings?

People text, e-mail, surf the web and even, watch videos (presumably with the sound off) during meetings. So, the question is, if everyone is doing it, should you bring your little SmartPhone...

Blackberries, iPhones and Androids: Do SmartPhones Belong in Meetings?

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Seven Spectacular Career Comebacks

Just because you've had a big setback doesn't mean your career has to be over. Meet seven people who bounced back after making spectacular mistakes, and learn how you can, too.
Seven Spectacular Career Comebacks

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

How To Handle a Bully Boss

Dear Evil HR Lady,

My immediate manager feels betrayed/jealous because I applied for another position within my company. I just received news that she badmouthed me and lied about my performance when they called to ask about me. One of my coworkers overheard her on the phone, because her desk is in the main area. Additionally, when a customer commented on how they were going to lose me to another branch, my boss said “Stacy, is not going anywhere!” She has always spoken so highly of me. And now I am certain that she is retaliating against me and will do anything in her power to get her way (she’s done it to others many times in the past).

I am one of the 40 candidates that applied. I already interviewed for the position and based on my first interview they informed me that I was definitely going to be interviewed by managers higher up in the chain (division and regional managers), which is great news. However, I fear my managers’ lies could seriously jeopardize my prospects and damage my reputation throughout the company. How do I handle this in a professional manner? I have considered calling HR but I don’t want to get my coworkers involved, because I don’t want her to retaliate against them.

How to Handle a Bully Boss