I know...I know...I've been AWOL for a couple of months. I could go into more detail but who really wants to hear my excuses?
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Labels: The Office
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Yes, you heard me right....
Check out the quote from this story I ran across...
Buck, a U.C. Berkeley graduate student of journalism, managed to type out a simple one word message -- "Arrested" -- to his network of followers on Twitter. Friends, fellow students and journalists quickly sprang into action by contacting U.C. Berkeley, the U.S. embassy in Egypt, the Associated Press, and other media outlets. The next day, Buck walked out of jail a free man with a U.C. Berkeley hired lawyer at his side and the U.S. embassy on the phone.
So, what are your thoughts about Twitter?
I'm now a Twitter user...am I a Twit? I'd define Twitter as a combination of a social-networking tool + instant message. Like most social networking sites what you type or twit can be public or private and you can allow almost anyone to follow your twits - and you can follow almost anyone's twits as well. I know...I am now over using the word twit.
So, who is really using Twitter anyway? I surprisingly saw where Democratic Presidential Candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton use Twitter...do they update it themselves or do one of their interns or staff members do this for them?
What if you are addicted to Twitter? I think my brother is and a few nights ago I called him a twit-a-holic...he didn't disagree.
Some of you out there that are a Recruiter like me might check out myspace or facebook to see if a candidate you are considering has a profile and if they do what does it look like or reveal about them? As a Recruiter I have done this before but I don't do it consistently with every new hire.
If you're a candidate (and twit user) out there check out this post on Fistful of Talent regarding what to be careful about. Below is a quote from that post...
Here's my take - the digital footprint is positive, but whether it has any impact on the hiring decision depends on three things:
1. Whether you use the digital profile to expand your knowledge or otherwise work more effectively..,
2. Whether you are giving me WAAAAAAY too much information in what you post... and
3. The type of job I have to fill.... If there's creativity involved and you're using the tool to expand your vision via #1, it's a plus... If I don't need that based on the job, than it's probably neutral or perhaps a liability...
So, for those of you twits out there, go ahead and twit away...just remember that it's always out there and available for anyone to find, read, and even possibly hold against you...
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I ran across this great clip on YouTube by Manpower.
You've all heard it said that you can learn anything easier if you put it to a song. I would completely agree and know that from experience...
Now to the topic of Employment Law. Yes, it can be interesting at times and full of learning opportunities but there are times when Employment Law is just law...and it can be boring.
Here's a song that gives us HR Pro's some great reminders and common sense examples of ways to handle anything employment or employee relations related.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Jean Capobianco...you won't meet a braver cancer survivor.
I was just introduced to Jean in this article I ran across on NY Times by Steven Greenhouse.
For more than 10 years Jean and her husband drover a truck together, hauling hazardous waste. After being diagnosed with cancer for the 2nd time and going through a mastectomy her husband decided that he didn't want to be married to her anymore.
After recovering from all of this and getting enough strength to go back to work, she found a job with Roadway Package Systems delivering packages. To her surprise, she was hired on as an "independent contractor", not an employee.
After suffering a back injury lifting packages she had to take 2 years off of work. But, before she could come back to work FedEx acquired Roadway Package Systems and the "rules" had drastically changed. She now had to buy her own truck and pay for her own gas and repairs.
Check out this next quote from the article...To attract drivers, FedEx Ground often runs ads claiming that its drivers earn $60,000 to $80,000 a year. Many drivers say those ads are deceiving. Gross income can exceed $60,000, but Jean, echoing many drivers, said she had to pay nearly $800 a month for her truck, $125 a week for gas, $55 a week for business equipment, $4,000 a year for insurance policies, plus outlays for tires, maintenance and repairs. Some years, Jean calculated, her net pay was just $32,000, amounting to $10.25 an hour.
Next, for the 3rd time, she was diagnosed with cancer - but this time it ovarian cancer. They removed the tumor and performed a hysterectomy but that next week they found Stage 4 cancer that had spread to her lungs.
Remember that she was still an "independent contractor" before reading this next quote...
She fully expected to return to her job in January, and called FedEx Ground’s headquarters to request a leave of absence. Weeks later, a letter arrived saying she was terminated.
Yes, you read the quote correctly...
Her husband has left her and she's been able to survive cancer 4 times...and this appears to be just another hurdle that she has to go through.
Now, for the justification and response from FedEx...
FedEx Ground officials said they had sympathy for Jean but had to terminate her under company rules, because she was no longer covering her route and she hadn’t found a replacement driver.
Company officials said they were free to terminate her because in FedEx’s view she was an independent contractor and therefore not protected by the Americans With Disabilities Act. That law requires companies to make reasonable accommodations to keep employees who have cancer or other disabilities. Jean has sued FedEx, asserting that it violated the act.
Wow...I can't believe I just read that. Sure, FedEx may be following the letter of the law very carefully but what about the public relations nightmare that FedEx is now receiving?
Would you say they would get your vote for being an Employer Of Choice? Nope.
Monday, April 21, 2008
You've all been reading and hearing in the news of all the layoffs and projected layoffs that have been happening in the financial industry. These started happening pretty frequently last year and will be happening well into this year.
It's actually pretty hard to comprehend the numbers. I read an article which stated that since August of last year more than 38,000 jobs have been cut in the financial industry.
You have got to be kidding me!
Even close to home, here in the South, we've had Regions Bank laying off about 1,200 in the 16 states they operate in.
Globally, Citigroup is projecting that about 9,000 of their employees will be laid off and Bear Stearn's is projecting that about 14,000 of their employees will be out of a job. These numbers have been projected and announced just in the last month.
One group of people that you probably haven't heard much about is that group of 250 or so recent college graduates and interns that were made job offers by Bear Stearns only to find those job offers now rescinded.
Check out these two quotes from this article in NY Times...
Thousands of people are losing their jobs on Wall Street — some before their first day of work. They polished résumés; they sweated interviews; they landed dream jobs. But now a small group of college and business school students are discovering that their careers at Bear Stearns ended before they began. JPMorgan Chase, which bought the beleaguered investment bank last month, rescinded many of their job offers.
But instead of starting new jobs at Bear, these students are now hunting for work along with a growing number of bankers and brokers. Since August, the financial industry has shed more than 38,000 jobs as a result of the credit crisis and the collapse of Bear Stearns. Citigroup added to the misery on Friday, saying it would eliminate 9,000 more jobs. No one thinks the pain will end there.
I know...layoffs are probably the quickest way to save a company and to immediately cut expenses but this message doesn't do anything for those that have been impacted. When it comes to stock price and value, a company basically has no choice when their main objective is to make money and increase the value of their stock.
What do you think about these companies that are putting their employees through this?
I found this clip of Citigroup employees that were just so proud just to be an employee of Citigroup. How many of these employees are still around today and do you think they still feel this way?
Sunday, April 20, 2008
For those of you out there that are racing fans, especially IndyCar racing fans, you're all aware and have heard the news that Danica Patrick just became the first female to win an IndyCar race.
I'm not a big racing fan but there are times when I'll stop and watch a race on a Sunday afternoon.
Like most of you out there, you've all heard of Danica Patrick - she been racing since 2005 and has been gaining attention year after year.
I was reading this article on the NY Times and found out some more information regarding some of the history of women in this sport.
Check out this quote from that NY Times article...There was a time when Patrick could not have competed in Sunday’s race. A few years before Janet Guthrie, an aerospace engineer and road racer, became the first woman to qualify for the Indy 500 in 1977, women were not allowed in the press box, the garage area or the pits.
As Guthrie wrote in “Life at Full Throttle,” an account of her career in racing, women were dismissed as lacking the strength, endurance and emotional stability to compete against men. Even a driver with Guthrie’s credentials as a road racer was seen as dangerous.
“A woman might be a reporter, a photographer, a timer/scorer, she might own the race car — but she couldn't’t get near it at any time for any reason,” Guthrie wrote. “A woman on the track itself was unthinkable.”
It sounds like we've had a good day in racing and a great day for women in this formerly male-dominated sport...
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Labels: Carnival of HR
Thursday, April 3, 2008
I learned a new term today...green-collar job. No longer do we just have white-collar and blue-collar jobs but we now also have green-collar jobs.
I went to Wikipedia and here's how they describe a green-collar worker - A green-collar worker is a worker who is employed in the environmental sectors of the economy, or in the agricultural sector. Environmental green-collar workers satisfy the demand for green development. Generally, they implement environmentally-conscious design, policy, and technology to improve conservation and sustainability.
There is much more than this on the Wikipedia website so feel free to click through the link and read more.
I also ran across this video on CNN that talks about this new wave of jobs that are emerging. The video tells the story of a start-up company that makes solar energy panels. This start-up decides to locate themselves in Toledo, Ohio due to the availability of highly-skilled factory workers that have been laid off from the automotive industry. The video also estimates that over the next 20 years 3 million new green-collar jobs will be created all over the country, with the right incentives and tax credits.
I decided to do some more searching on-line and an article on John Edwards website showed up - surprised? The title of his article is, "Building One America in the New Energy Economy with Green Collar Jobs"
Check out this quote from the article...Today, Edwards outlined his "Green Collar Jobs" initiative to train and employ at least 150,000 workers a year in new energy economy jobs. He will dedicate 50,000 Stepping Stone jobs—subsidized employment that form part of Edwards' anti-poverty plan—to energy-related occupations. In addition, the Green Collar Jobs training initiative will work with employers, unions, community colleges and high schools to prepare and engage the next generation of workers.
There were pages and pages of articles on-line and I could have spent all day reading these and updating myself on this new concept. But, I just didn't have the time...
I'm all for real jobs that are created and especially when these jobs can be filled by workers that have been laid off. But, when the government decides to step in with incentives and tax credits I just can't help to be skeptical.
I'll just have to read more about this...
What's your take on this?
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
If you're Steve Jobs with Apple or one of the top 3 Executives at Google then this describes you.
I just ran across this great article on Portfolio and honestly thought that it was part of an April Fools' Day joke...but then I realized it wasn't April 1st.
The title of the article is The 1$ Executive Club and today was the first time I had ever heard of this.
Check out this quote from the article...
What is the hottest status symbol in executive compensation?
It's not the private jet or huge buckets of stock options and restricted stock, or lots of little things like season baseball tickets or free dry cleaning. (Although those are always welcome, thank you very much.)
No, it's the $1 salary.
The three at the top of Google, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and C.E.O. Eric Schmidt have affirmed their cachet in corporate cool by taking salaries of only $1, according to the proxy statement the company filed on Tuesday evening.
So, what do you think? What's also interesting is that every year since this started in 2004 all 3 of the top Google Executives have been offered more market competitive salaries but have turned them down. Would you do this if you were in their shoes?
Don't feel too sorry for these Executives because I'm sure that their "other compensation" completely makes up for any amount of perceived loss of income. Remember that there is "other compensation" called stock options.
I also learned that Steve Jobs (Apple) is the most famous $1 annual salary recipient and he's been doing this since 1997. Bill Ford (Ford) has been doing this since 2005 and Richard Fairbank (Capital One) decided to try it for 2007.
Here's another quote from the article that sheds some light on some other advantages to Executives as well...
Taking no or little salary is often done for symbolic reasons: an executive trying to bolster employee morale at a company in need of an immediate turnaround. But there is a practical motive as well. Salary is taxed at rates as high as 35 percent, while capital gains from stock sales are taxed up to 15 percent. Cutting down the salary portion of an executive's compensation could help reduce the overall tax bill.
In reference to the first part of the above quote I couldn't agree more. If I was working for a large corporation that was going through some difficult financial times and our CEO, CFO, and COO decided to forgo an annual salary then I'd probably be impressed...but once I saw the obvious tax advantages I wouldn't be as impressed...
So, what's your take on this?
Yes, you guessed it...it's that time again.
The 30th edition of the HR Carnival is live!
Special thanks to Rowan Manahan at Fortify Your Oasis from all the way over in Dublin, Ireland for this record setting month. Not only is it the 30th edition but we also have a record 28 entries!
Enjoy and be sure to take some time to click through all the links. In case you're wondering, mine is the 3rd from the bottom...
Labels: Carnival of HR
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Someone forwarded me this great clip this morning and I had to get a post in about it...
Any thoughts about whether or not this will become a reality?
Monday, March 31, 2008
I ran across this great list on Fortune that included 15 of the best and also unusual company perks. Some of these I could probably of come up with myself but then there were others (like the scuba diving) that I don't think would have ever crossed my mind.
Like you, I hear of companies all the time that are looking for unique ways to attract (and of course retrain) great workers. So, if you're one of those employers that are looking for ways to spice things up around the office, take a hard look at the list below and incorporate what you think will work where you are.
Check out the list below...
1. Scuba diving lessons - Chesapeake Energy Corporation
2. Prayer and meditation rooms - eBay
3. $200 grocery card - Methodist Hospital System
4. Alternative mode of transportation and get a $4 daily credit - Genetech
5. Free ipod shuffle - PricewaterhouseCoopers
6. Free lunch Monday through Thursday - FactSet Research
7. Discounted rent in one of their company owned apartments - Camden Property Trust
8. Get married for free - Erickson Retirement Communities
9. Dollar for dollar charity contribution match - EOG Resources
10. Free Cleveland Cavs basketball tickets - Quicken Loans
11. $20,000 in annual tuition reimbursement - MITRE
12. 5 weeks of in year 1 of employment - KPMG
13. $1,000 toward the purchase of a hybrid or electric car - Google
14. On-site childcare for $240/month - Arkansas Children's Hospital
15. On-site dry cleaning, postal services, and free grocery delivery - Microsoft
So, what do you think?
Interested in any of these? If these aren't a perfect match for your company today they should be a great place for you to start thinking about some of the things that might work for you.
If interested, check out this video created by some Microsoft interns. It's a little lengthy but does a pretty good job showing why people want to work and stay at Microsoft.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
I was reading this post over at The HR Capitalist titled, "Evaluate Your Street Cred at Work By the Size of Your Birthday Party..."
Included is a great clip by CareerBuilder that says you can evaluate your workplace worth by observing how your birthday is celebrated around the office. Go ahead and follow the link and check out the clip.
I immediately thought of this clip from Office Space where Bill Lumbergh has a birthday and the entire office celebrates it. From the singing of Happy Birthday I can't call it a celebration...
But, what happens when there isn't enough cake for everyone? Just ask Milton Waddams...
So, what would you think if everyone in the company knew your salary and what everyone else made? Don't think this is misprint or an accident - just walk down the hall by the break room and you can find the list up on the bulletin board. If you aren't sure where the break room is just listen for all of the screaming and yelling.
Most of you would find this situation or scenario completely ridiculous and would say that this information is confidential and should stay that way.
Certain salaries or compensation packages are public knowledge and will probably always be. I "googled" college football coaches salary and it took me less than 1 second to find a handful of websites eager to give me this information. Here's one here. Or, take CEO compensation...that's easy to find - here's a list I found. These salaries are always discussed on the news and we expect to be able to get our hands on this information or at least to be able to find this information on-line within a couple of minutes.
So now...what about you? What if this was something your company decided to do? Or, what if you were interviewing at a company and heard that this was part of their "culture"? Would this make you think twice before accepting a job offer? Back when I worked at The Federal Reserve we posted our job titles and salary ranges on the bulletin board by the break room but this was obviously as transparent as we would ever go.
I ran across this article on Portfolio titled "When Salaries Aren't Secret" and it made me stop and think about this concept.
Check out this quote from the article...On the other hand, a radically open salary system could yield major benefits:
1. a fair compensation system based on actual performance
2. employee understanding of the business (e.g., why payroll is usually the largest cost; why certain employees earn more)
3. a culture of trust, as employees and senior managers share more information
So, what do you think? Agree or disagree?
In some companies (or occupations), I can definitely agree with these benefits and see how this would work. For example, in a company that was comprised with a lot of employees with variable compensation and where bonuses or additional compensation was based on sales or performance I could see how this would work. It could also motivate employees to work harder - especially the ones that are toward the bottom of the list. The more variable the compensation in your company the more of a chance that this will work.
Let me know your thoughts...
If you want to read about some ways to start experimenting with this concept go back to the article I mentioned at the top and scroll down to the bottom of the page...enjoy!
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
You won't ever find me getting "political" in my blog posts but since every day my job is to review resumes and talk to candidates about their background and experience, this recent story involving Hillary Clinton definitely caught my eye.
Every candidate that we bring in for an interview is there to talk about their background and experience and show how they are a perfect match for the position that we're looking to fill.
I don't just take their resume and believe everything on it but I ask questions and dig into each position that the candidate has held. I ask questions, present scenarios, and ask for examples to see if this person really has the background and experience that we're looking for.
So, as we all review Presidential candidate "resumes" and determine who we feel would be the best person for the job, what we hear and see are some of the factors that we have to consider.
Do you think that when Hillary was giving that speech last week she had any idea that a video of that exact trip she was describing would surface? As you watch the video listen for the unbelievable detail that Hillary gives as she describes the sniper fire and greeting ceremony...
For you HR Pro's out there is this "falsification of her application" or just an an honest mistake where she "exaggerated" some of the details?
I'll let you decide...
I was introduced to this great video clip today...
I haven't seen it happen as much where I work today but can guarantee you that over the years I have seen this, or something very similar, happen every time "The Boss" calls in sick and decides to work from home.
What do you do when "The Boss" calls in sick and decides to work from home?
Since "My Boss" might read this, I've never done this and am always in the office when he's out...
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Most of you out there have probably heard the news by now - on Tuesday evening, February 26th, Starbucks closes every store in the US for a few hours to train ALL of their 135,000 employees.
The press release on the Starbucks website can be found here...
Check out this quote from the article...
In one of its most significant efforts to transform the company and reignite its connection with customers, today Starbucks is conducting an unprecedented in-store education and training event for more than 135,000 partners (employees) in U.S. company-operated stores. As part of this major customer-focused initiative, Starbucks is also introducing a promise to exceed customers’ expectations by delivering the perfect drink every time.
At the end of the night, all of Starbucks U.S. partners will pledge their commitment to upholding the uncompromising standards and quality that have made Starbucks the world’s coffee leader. The promise will be prominently posted in every U.S. company-operated store, and baristas will demonstrate a personal commitment to their customers by signing the promise upon completion of tonight’s training.
So, what was your reaction to this?
My first reaction were the numbers. They actually trained 135,000 at the same time - this is unheard of! Secondly, I did the math to show how much it cost Starbucks for this 3 hour training. If I assume that each Starbucks partner (employee) makes $9/hour then they spent about $3.6 million dollars in payroll for this time - all while not selling even one drop of coffee - that's $0 in revenue during this time. Numbers like these truly shows their commitment to rejuvenate their workforce.
For those of you that are Starbucks addicts were you able to tell a difference from Tuesday to Wednesday? Did your coffee taste better? Did their employees appear to be more energized with a new commitment and emphasis on quality?
Since I'm not a coffee drinker I wouldn't be able to tell you. So, if you've got a story to tell, let me know my leaving your comment...
Monday, February 25, 2008
I just ran across this list on CNN titled 25 top-paying companies.
Once you click through the link you'll do what I did - I quickly scrolled through the top 25 to see if my current employer, previous employer, or major competitor of my company made the list. I was also looking to see if any of these companies had headquarters or offices where I live. For me, none of these applied...no shock to me and now no reason to update my resume...
Below are the top 10 from the list of 25...
1. Bingham McCutchen
2. Arnold & Porter
3. Alston & Byrd
4. Shared Technologies
5. Nixon Peabody
6. Devon Energy
7. Perkins Coie
8. EOG Resources
9. Adobe Systems
10. Goldman Sachs
As I scrolled through the list I was surprised how many I had to click through before I came across a company I recognized or even heard of. The first company I recognized was #9, Adobe Systems. How about you? How many did you have to scroll through?
Next I had to check out #1 from the list, Bingham McCutchen. For more information on them go here...
The first shocker for me was this, their average total pay is $211,017 (For: Associate) - not bad at all!
Check this out from the article - This major corporate law firm brought three firms into its fold in 2007, boosting its staff to more than 1,000 lawyers working in 13 different offices, the largest of which is in Boston. Most hires fresh out of law school start here with a base salary of $160,000, and even the firm's legal secretaries average a not-too-shabby $69,000 a year. And talent looms large - the legal staff includes 72 graduates from Harvard Law, 24 from Yale and 20 from Stanford.
What was your first conclusion from this bit of information? Mine was obviously pay and how they are so willing to pay for and keep their talent. Speaking of retention, their turnover rate is 17%. That's not too bad but with a pay structure like theirs and a #41 ranking of the top companies to work for I would have expected it to be somewhat lower.
Check out the rest of the companies that made the list and see what else they are doing, other than pay, to attract and retain their talent...
Monday, December 31, 2007
Here we are. Today is Monday, December 31st, 2007 and it's the last day of the year.
Since today is my last opportunity for a 2007 post I thought I would take some time to have one final post for the year.
When I saw this Top 40 list from John Nail at The Industry Radar I couldn't help but post about it and notice that my BlackBerry User = Lower IQ = Bad For My Career post came in at #4. This was a HUGE day for me and generated almost 1800 hits in about 24 hours. The picture included in this post was a perfect addition to the BlackBerry post so I had to include it in this one as well.
Take a hard look and read at the list and enjoy...
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Some of you may be wondering where my posts have been - others may not even realize I was even out there... that's OK. After 5 months of consistent posts I suddenly dropped off the face of the planet back in mid-October.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
All - the latest HR Blog Power Rankings for the week of 10/08/07 is out! It looks like I'm holding steady again at #14 and need to do some more work to climb closer to the top.
Thanks to Kris over at HR Capitalist for keeping us HR Bloggers engaged and connected...
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
For those of you unaware, George Clooney and his girlfriend, Sarah Larson, were involved in a motorcycle accident last month, on 9/21/07.
But, you probably haven't heard that 27 employees at the hospital where he was treated were just suspended for a month without pay for viewing his PHI (Protected Health Information) - here's the story on CNN...
Check out this quote from the article... More than two dozen employees at Palisades Medical Center have been suspended after accessing the personal medical records of actor George Clooney, who was taken to the North Bergen, N.J., hospital last month after a motorcycle accident.
Hospital spokesman Eurice Rojas said late Tuesday that 27 employees were suspended for a month without pay, after an internal investigation. Accessing a person's medical records without authorization is a violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) -- a federal law that protects the privacy of patients.
So, what is your take on the punishment - a month off without pay? Does the punishment fit the crime? Even George Clooney, the victim, doesn't think these workers should be suspended for it...
My take? I don't think the punishment fits the crime. If the same 27 employees were found to have viewed my PHI then at the most they would have received a "verbal warning" for the file - but add George Clooney to the mix and the celebrity hype that comes with it, all bets are off and the punishment is taken to the extreme.
Anyone else out there with a take on this?
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
I can't believe it happened again...offensive candidate voice mail greeting...and yes, it has now eliminated this candidate from consideration.
I immediately thought of this post by Kris over at The HR Capitalist titled, Press "1" To Eliminate Yourself As a Candidate.
Here's the scenario: On paper you've found a candidate that is a perfect match for the position you are looking to fill. As you look at their resume you can see that their education, work history, experience, and knowledge - basically every qualification you are looking for is included in this resume. You're next step is to get on the phone with the candidate for a phone-screen and to get them started through your process. You dial their number and to your surprise you don't hear a ring but a song starts to play. You are then treated to some of the most explicit lyrics you have ever heard - so bad you've never even heard this song played on the radio.
Check out this quote from Kris's post...I'm treated to 30 seconds of a profane Notorious B.I.G track before the innocent, professional voice I was expecting comes through over the track during the chorus. Professional position, 50-60K job. Bye-Bye...
Now what? Do you leave a message to schedule a phone-screen or are you done with this candidate?
For me, I'm done with this one and will move on to the next qualified candidate...
Candidates, for those of you out there that are one, please edit your voice mail greeting during this job search process. You may have just spent $1.99 for this greeting but the payoff for getting a new job is worth much more than what you spent on the greeting.
During this experience I immediately thought of George Costanza and his answering machine greeting. I know it's not the same situation but play the clip and listen to the message - many would say that it's just as offensive as the explicit lyrics...
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
All - here's an update to my previous post over the weekend titled Michigan State Government Shuts Down - 35,000 Workers Sit at Home.
I just found an article this morning that sums up pretty well the circumstances, pressures, and resolution surrounding this ordeal.
It sounds like there actually was a brief (4 hour) shut down where workers did end up sitting at home but we're glad that it didn't last long.
Check out the first few sentences in the article...
There's nothing in the state tax increase/budget cuts/reforms package approved early Monday morning by state lawmakers that they couldn't have agreed to last summer.
They didn't have to wait until state services had been shut down for four hours before coming up with a budget agreement.
Yet the citizens of the state of Michigan were treated to an astounding display of political cowardice, mostly on the part of House Democrats, who could have passed a tax increase without a single Republican vote.
Maybe the next time this happens we won't need students attempting to raise money for their school so that they doesn't risk closing.
I'll end on this last quote from the article...
Had the shutdown persisted, Jonesville Community Schools would have been able to last through October and then may have had to cancel teacher paychecks, halt sporting events and/or use the fund balance just to keep the doors open.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Not only do we have auto workers striking but now we also have about 5,500 nurses to strike in Northern California on October 10th and 11th - this according to BusinessWeek.
Check this out...
A nurses union has authorized a two-day strike at up to 16 Northern California hospitals to protest patient care practices and proposed changes to health care and retirement benefits.
The California Nurses Association said Friday that hospitals were being notified that as many as 5,500 nurses are planning to strike on Oct. 10 and Oct. 11, according to spokesman Charles Idelson.
Here is the press release from the CNA (California Nurses Association) website and below is a quote that sums up their number one concern and motivation for this strike.
"We are deeply concerned about the quality of care and the availability of patient services in communities that have long supported Sutter hospitals,” said Jan Rodolfo, an RN at Summit and chair of the CNA/NNOC Sutter wide Facility Bargaining Council. “Inadequate staffing is a persistent problem at Sutter facilities. No one understands what staffing we need to provide safe patient care better than bedside nurses.”
Here are their three main concerns:
1. Patient care: RN to patient ratio
2. RN healthcare benefits: Premiums, deductibles, co-payments, prescription drugs, etc...
3. Retirement Security: Increase value of retirement plan
These concerns seem pretty reasonable - especially when it comes to patient care and the potential liability and risk that can come from a wrongful death suit.
Regarding benefits, anytime you try to reduce benefits and increase costs you know that employees will in no way want to have anything to do with that - especially when it's your attempt to do both at the same time.
Lastly, a couple of facilities want to require RN's to participate in a wellness program. Non-participation will result in an increase in health care costs.
Check out this quote from this article I just ran across in BusinessWeek...
Two-thirds of Michigan's state government workers were told Friday not to report to work Monday as negotiations continued on a budget plan that could avert a partial state government shutdown.
Messages went to about 35,000 state workers, telling them they were being placed on a temporary layoff beginning at 12:01 a.m. Monday and not to go to work unless otherwise notified.
Sounds pretty extreme doesn't it?
The article tells us that about 18,000 government workers will actually stay on the job on Monday - 12,000 of them being prison employees. What they won't have on Monday will be food safety inspections or liquor deliveries. There also won't be anyone selling lottery tickets, issuing driver's licenses, or working on state roads. By the way, about three casino's will stay open since the state gets about 1 million daily from casinos - the money goes toward public schools and public safety.
Here's more from the article...
Members of the Granholm administration met with both House parties on Friday afternoon, raising hopes that a proposal was close to fill a $1.75 billion shortfall in the fiscal year that starts Monday.
Negotiations center on raising the state's personal income tax rate, now at 3.9 percent, to as high as 4.6 percent. Another key issue is extending the sales tax to some new services.
The Legislature adjourned late Friday and was scheduled to reconvene Saturday. There was hope among some at the Capitol that an agreement was within reach.
It sounds like there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel so we'll have to see if any more progress is made in these negotiations today.
Just never sounds good when you hear that 35,000 workers could be sitting at home on Monday.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
I ran across the quote below from a Napoleon Hill "thought for the day" I received today...
Take a quick read now...
DON’T ASK YOUR EMPLOYER WHY YOU ARE NOT PROMOTED. ASK THE PERSON WHO REALLY KNOWS BEST-YOURSELF
There is only one person who is in charge of your career progression, and that person is you. Lee Iacocca is said to have written his entire career plan on the back of a business card. On it were the promotions he expected to earn and the dates he expected to receive them-until he was named CEO of the company. Successful people know that they must create their own opportunities and be ready for them when they arrive. Some organizations have clearly defined career paths while others are more informal in their approach, but if you study the senior people in the company, you can quickly identify the kind of education and experience you need to advance. If you are with the right company, one that excites and enthuses you, identify the career moves you’d like to make and get to work making yourself qualified for the job you want.
So, what do you think?
Does this describe the way you have taken charge of your career? Have you been able to create opportunities and achieve them? Or, have you been to at least take advantage of the opportunities that have come your way?
If not, what are you waiting for?
If you haven't started yet here is what you've got to do first (this is from the quote above)...If you are with the right company, one that excites and enthuses you, identify the career moves you’d like to make and get to work making yourself qualified for the job you want.
It all starts with being with the right company - one in which you have a passion for and one in which you can make this all happen...
Now, go and do it!
All - the latest HR Blog Power Rankings for the week of 9/24/07 is out! Looks like I'm holding steady at #14 and need to do some more work to climb closer to the top.
Thanks to Kris over at HR Capitalist for keeping us HR Bloggers engaged and connected...
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Anyone up for a "friendly" ping pong match in the break room?
What? Do you think you're Google?
Actually, this took place at the local Target in Appleton, WI...
It all started out as an innocent ping pong match in the local Target break room for the usually mild mannered Tim Bergkamp. But somehow, as each point was won, he transformed (like Bruce Banner into The Incredible Hulk) into a "smack talking", fist pumping, thug with nicknames like "King Pong", "The Human Wall" and "The Harlem Pongtrotter".
Check out this quote from the article..."I don't know what the deal is," said Marty Zielke, a coworker of Bergkamp's at an Appleton-area Target, "but ever since we got that ping-pong table in the break room, Tim's been acting like he's Macho Man Randy Savage or something."
So, for you HR Pro's out there with charged with keeping your culture light and fun, what do you think about this story?
I think it's pretty funny and sums up pretty well a culture that most companies would love to have - just as long as the testosterone is kept in check.
For those of you that need to work on a forehand smash check out this clip and Enjoy!
Monday, September 24, 2007
I thought that by having and using my BlackBerry I would become more productive, more innovative and especially smarter...never dumber.
I ran across this article in BusinessWeek by Sylvia Ann Hewlett titled, "Is Your Blackberry Lowering Your IQ?"
Check out this quote from the article...Researchers at Kings' College London University have found that, across the board, communication overload causes a professional's IQ to drop 10 percentage points. It damages a worker's performance by reducing mental sharpness. The drop in IQ is more significant among men than women.
So, what's your take on these numbers?
For those of you out there that are a BlackBerry user like myself would you agree that your IQ is dropping because you are overloaded by the amount of time you communicate on your BlackBerry?
Hmmm...I don't think that I'm convinced just yet...
Here's another quote that made me think a little more about the concept...IT consultant Linda Stone has shown how "continuous partial attention" can be seriously dysfunctional. When a professional is bombarded by multiple information streams it becomes hard to sustain focus. Innovation and creativity suffer—as does the quality of decision making. How good can your feedback be when your words of wisdom are sandwiched between intense backhand drills?
After that quote I can start to see where Linda Stone is coming from but if I had to choose between having a BlackBerry and not having a Blackberry I would choose having one every time. I'll definitely use my BlackBerry for sending and receiving e-mails when needed but one of the biggest ways I use it is to just keep up to date of what's going on in the office when I'm not physically there.
So, for you BlackBerry users out there, let me hear what you have to say...
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Have you ever seen the original list of the "seven deadly sins" associated with your career?
I hadn't so I just had to post about this article I ran across in CNN by Rachel Zupek titled, "Seven deadly workplace sins".
For those of you unfamiliar with the list here they are: pride, envy, anger, greed, sloth, gluttony, and lust.
As you read and think about each one of these from lists above and below you can probably think back at different times in your career when you have seen colleagues in your company make any one or a combination of these mistakes. Unfortunately, they end up paying the price for these mistakes - yes, there will be consequences. Hopefully you've watched them and been able to learn from their mistakes. As you reflect on these you might even see something that you are currently doing that needs to be changed so that you don't end up paying the price and suffering the consequences.
Here's the article's take on these workplace sins...
Despite any help they received along the way, time and again, people take full credit for their accomplishments in the office, thinking that personal success will fast-track their career.
The sin: "What often goes unrecognized is that people around, and especially below, the serially solo-successful resent the ego-centricity, and may actually begin to actively undermine that person's efforts in the future."
The salvation: "A dose of acknowledgment of and appreciation for one's peers and subordinates, so they may share in some of the glory, can go a long way to foster one's long-term success."
It's OK to acknowledge another's achievements, but lamenting "what should have been yours" can be destructive and adversely impact your own ability to focus on current job tasks, McKee says.
The sin: "Allowing yourself to be overly envious of others in the workplace can sabotage your self-esteem, which is one vital characteristic every successful business person shares."
The salvation: "Rather than being envious, let the accomplishments of others become motivational fuel for your fire in working toward your own successes."
Anger doesn't benefit anyone in the workplace -- it only damages your reputation, credibility and professionalism.
The sin: "Those prone to angry outbursts rarely get promoted; they are seen as being poor leaders who cannot inspire or motivate others."
The salvation: "It's fine to feel passionately about your job or a project at hand and to disagree with others, but learn how to channel those emotions into actions that will work to your benefit in the eyes of others -- especially your superiors -- rather than against it."
An employee's selfish desire for "more, sooner" is what motivates many workers. While these folks may do well in the moment, they won't be prepared to take things to the next level, McKee warns.
The sin: "Taking this notion to the extreme can and will be self-defeating as core values become misguided and life becomes unbalanced in the process."
The salvation: "The road to success requires a long-term approach in all aspects of one's job duties. Those laser-focused on quick, short-term gains may do well in the moment, but will be ill-prepared to take things to the next level."
Indolence gets you nowhere in life -- especially in corporate America. Laziness in the workplace will have you sitting idle, watching others surpass you in success and authority.
The sin: "Simply put, complacency and laziness have no place whatsoever in the workplace -- especially for those with high aspirations. Expecting one's past achievements and successes to carry them forward in their long-term career is imprudent."
The salvation: "Treat every work day and every project as if your job, and your future at large, depends on it. It very well may."
Too much focus on only one facet of life, like work, is a recipe for overall failure. Make sure you're ready -- professionally and personally -- to take on new and bigger challenges, for which expectations are also bigger, McKee says.
The sin: "Many individuals move up the corporate ladder so fast that they actually end up failing as a consequence. More isn't always better -- especially if you're not ready for the challenge at hand."
The salvation: "Achieving career success also includes maintaining a life balance, and a misplaced professional desire can create a backlash both at home as well as amid peers for your perceived obsessiveness."
The old "grass is always greener" adage applies to the workplace as well. Spending your time focused on others' work achievements rather than working to further your own is a sure-fire career killer," McKee contends.
The sin: "Spending an inordinate amount of time fixated on what you don't have rather than what you do will foster a bad attitude and negative overall demeanor."
The salvation: "One's overall 'presence' in the office plays a big part in who gets promoted and who doesn't. No matter how ambitious, it's prudent to be 'present' and make the most out of your current position at this moment in time."
So, what's your take on these?
I thought this was a great list with some great comparisons of "sins" vs "salvations" that should give each of us some reasons why the extreme of any of these can really destroy our career.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
I was reading a recent post by Kris over at The HR Capitalist titled, When Your Job Offer Process Takes On a "Stalker" Quality.... In the article Kris gives us some great factors (and links to some of his previous posts) that will impact whether or not a candidate decides to accept your opportunity and come work for you and your company.
Here are a couple of points I took away from his posts:
1. You move so fast that you turn into a "Stalker". One of the main reasons you do this is because you can't seem to control your excitement about the candidate that you have convinced to come interview at your company. By the time the interview is over the candidate can already tell how desperate you are for them to fill the position - because you just must have their skills and abilities present at your company. By the time they have left the interview there is no doubt in their mind that you will offer them the position. Then, you don't let them down by making them a verbal/written offer that same day! Same day offer = never a good idea.
2. You're hiring managers are "LAME". Yes, you heard me right...LAME! You know I'm right and we've all had them at companies where we've worked and had to support. As an HR Pro you've been able to sell yourself, your company, and this opportunity. But, the next big step is to bring the candidate in for a face to face interview with the hiring manager. You almost wish you didn't have to go through this step but it's inevitable and must be done. Because, after all, you can do all the selling that's humanly possible but if the manager drops the ball then the deal is off.
As HR Pro's we have all experienced at least one of the scenario's above and you'll typically see these two the most when you have found the perfect candidate that is truly an exact match for the job and opportunity you've been charged with filling. Plus, the more marketable a candidate is the more these two points will come out.
Now what? What do you think is going to be the response from the candidate that has had to endure these two scenarios described above?
Nine times out of ten you're going to get a declined offer - you aren't really shocked are you?
The candidate (or victim) will typically be professional and courteous and thank you for the offer but say that they have decided to pursue another opportunity - one more in line with their current and future career goals and expectations.
Basically they will say, it's not you...it's me.
In this spirit and theme of rejections enjoy this clip from Seinfeld of George Constanza!
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
I haven't posted about Napoleon Hill in a couple of months but I received this "thought for the day" a few days ago and happened to open it back up today.
Why do we so rarely see jobs that aren't "officially in our job description" as someone else's responsibility or an annoyance instead of seeing them as "opportunities"?
I ask not only you this, but also myself...
Above and beyond our day to day responsibilities and duties what else do you see that needs to be done around the office, in your department, or for the company? I've seen it from time to time in almost every company where I have ever worked - and I know you have too. There is that employee (or group of employees) that is never happy or satisfied by the job they are doing or what the company does for them. Why is this? What is so wrong with enjoying what you do and being excited about what your company does?
I could go on but I'll stop for now.
Check out the quote below and truly sit back, reflect, and be willing to see these "problems" as real "opportunities".
IF IT ISN’T YOUR JOB TO DO IT, PERHAPS IT IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY.
Someone once observed that the reason we often fail to recognize opportunities is because they come disguised as problems. When a customer, a colleague, or your boss has a problem, it may create a valuable opportunity for you. It isn’t important to the person with the problem how your company is organized or whose responsibility it is to solve the problem; he or she only wants the situation resolved. The next time a customer, a colleague, or your boss asks for your assistance in something that falls outside your area of responsibility, instead of referring them to someone else, offer to help. Look at the situation from the other person’s point of view. How would you like the situation handled if the roles were reversed? Take the initiative to find the answer, solve the problem, or keep the project moving forward.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Does this scenario describe where you are today? Maybe you've got a son or a daughter or a friend of the family who has just graduated from college and is looking to travel internationally.
I ran across this article in BusinessWeek by Candace Corner titled, "Need a career change? Five jobs that let you see the world".
Here they are...
1. Teacher. We all either have a friend or family member that's a teacher and we know that that a high salary is neither expected or usually paid for those that choose this rewarding career. In fact, if you happen to live in South Dakota you're amongst the lowest paid in the nation, making about $32K per year. For an international spin on this occupation you can earn up to $60K in South Korea and up to $80K in Switzerland - not bad!
2. Chef. For this occupation I believe the opportunity to travel is going to be the selling point here since you really don't earn a whole lot more in the overseas vs the states. In the states a head chef can earn a median income from around $40K to $43K per year. Overseas you'll earn from $38K to almost $48K per year.
3. Massage Therapist. I'll have to admit that I am the least familiar with this occupation since I have honestly never had a massage by a "real massage therapist". Here's a plug for the only massage therapist I know, Eileen Sauer. Here is her website and her LinkedIn profile can be found here - she's also the most passionate java trainer I have ever been around and an unbelievable pianist. In the US you'll probably earn a median income of about $30K. For those of you that love being in a cruise ship you can earn between $34K and $46K.
4. Nanny. Since I've got 4 kids of my own I know that I know that I could never afford one of these - especially if I had to pay per child. In the US you'll earn a median income of about $30K but in France you'll only earn about $320 / month - the opportunity here is of course to see another part of the world. If you love France go for it!
5. Caterer. The article says that a catering manager can earn about $36K as the median income. Obviously, the better reputation you have and the more business you have the more money you make. Plus, if you happen to be employed by a celebrity or anyone with plenty of money to spend I would imagine that you can earn much more than the $36K.
So, now what?
Which location do you choose if you want to travel? Do you stay in the states and move from the east to the west or from the south to the north? Or, do you take the big step and go to another country?
My vote is another country.
Enjoy and take advantage of whichever location you choose.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
If you're like me you've heard this issue joked about in basically every company where you have ever worked. It's workaholic. Most of us would never admit to being one and we probably wouldn't even own up to being described this way.
What's your take on this issue and trend?
This is my first post of more to come in a series addressing the topic and subject of work/life balance. We all know how important it is to balance work and life...but why is it?
Here is how Wikipedia defines a workaholic - a workaholic is a person who is addicted to work. This phrase does not always imply that the person actually enjoys their work, but rather simply feels compelled to do it. There is no generally accepted medical definition of such a condition, although some forms of stress, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder can be work-related. Although the term "workaholic" usually has a negative connotation, it is sometimes used by people wishing to express their devotion to one's career in positive terms. The "work" in question is usually associated with a paying job, but it may also refer to independent pursuits such as sports, music, art, or blogging.
Next, I decided to go to the place where I could knew I could find this issue addressed, defined and solved, Workaholics Anonymous.
Here is how they define what it's all about - Workaholics Anonymous is a fellowship of individuals who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other that they may solve their common problems and help others to recover from workaholism.
Since I was quite unfamiliar with this program and issue I was surprised to see all the great resources that were included there.
Here are a few of the resources I found...
- How do I know if I am a workaholic?
- Characteristics of a workaholic
- The Twelve Steps
Take a look at the above links and dig through the information provided. There are some great tools included that can really help you determine whether or not you might be a workaholic.
If you determine that you really might be one, how's your performance in your current position and what type of feedback do you receive from your manager? Do your current habits really help your performance or are you just guilty of bad time management or doing work just to stay busy?
How about your career? Are you where you thought you would be and is your current position contributing or hindering your progress?
If you really aren't sure then explore the links above and be on the lookout for more information to come from me on this very topic.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
We've all heard the news by now - that Luciano Pavarotti passed away on Wednesday, September 6, 2007.
Wow...what an amazing tenor!
Sure, I was familiar with him but I had to do some research on-line to really learn about his career as a tenor, which started in April of 1961.
Here are some facts that I learned about him - included are two cips at the bottom of this post...
- Pavarotti began his career as a tenor in smaller regional Italian opera houses, making his debut as Rodolfo in La bohème at the Teatro Municipale in Reggio Emilia in April 1961.
- Pavarotti made his American début with the Greater Miami Opera in February, 1965 singing in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor opposite Joan Sutherland on the stage of the Miami-Dade County Auditorium in Miami.
- On December 12, 1998 he became the first (and, so far, only) opera singer to perform on Saturday Night Live, singing alongside Vanessa L. Williams. He also sang with U2, in the band's 1995 song Miss Sarajevo.
- He received Kennedy Center Honors in 2001 and holds two Guinness World Records: for receiving the most curtain calls — at 165 — and for the best selling classical album (this album is In Concert by The Three Tenors and is thus shared by fellow tenors, Plácido Domingo and José Carreras).
- In 2001, Pavarotti received the Nansen Medal from the UN High Commission for Refugees for his efforts raising money on behalf of refugees worldwide. Through benefit concerts and volunteer work, he has raised more than US$1.5 million, more than any other individual.
- Pavarotti gave his last performance in an opera at the New York Metropolitan Opera on March 13, 2004 for which he received a 12-minute standing ovation for his role as the painter Mario Cavaradossi in Giacomo Puccini's Tosca.
- On February 10, 2006 0 Pavarotti sang "Nessun Dorma" at the 2006 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in Turin, Italy. The final act of the opening ceremony, his performance received the longest and loudest ovation of the night from the international crowd.
Now, enjoy this clip of Luciano Pavarotti and James Brown...
Here's another of Pavarotti and Bono...
Thursday, September 6, 2007
We've all seen it in basically every company where we have ever worked. It's office romance and almost impossible to hide - and we can usually see it coming from miles away.
I've seen two single people get together, which is usually the story you like to hear, and I've seen two people who are already married divorce and get together, which is much more unpredictable and typically involves much more talk around the "water cooler".
Check out these statistics..."Forty-three percent of workers in the United States say they've dated a fellow employee; of those, 34 percent reported getting hitched, according to a 2006 survey on office romance by CareerBuilder.com".
I really didn't expect the percentages to be so high so there must be more of this going on than I'm aware of - I guess it's because I work in HR.
Here are some pointers mentioned in the article and I'll elaborate on each of them.
For you "The Office" fans out there check out this clip of Jim and Pam...
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Disclaimer: I have changed the names to protect the innocent in this scenario below. As you'll see and read below, the only innocent ones that deserve protection are "former co-worker", "manager", and "third party" - the "candidate" doesn't deserve protection but he'll get it anyway.
Here's the scenario. "Candidate" applies for a job at "Company XYZ" while still employed at "Company ABC". He soon realizes that his "former co-worker" is now the "manager" for the position he has just applied for.
Here's where it gets interesting...the best part of this is that "candidate" sent this to me via e-mail.
Check it out...
Thanks for the information below. I didn't realize that it was "former co-worker" who was handling the position. I don't normally toot my own horn. But in this case I feel it's necessary. I am 10 times the developer that "former co-worker" is and his work ethic and level of excellence isn't even on the same page as my own. I have worked very closely with him and reviewed his code. It is substandard in my opinion. He's friendly and easy to get along with. I liked working with him because of his spirit of cooperation. But in all honesty, he's very lazy. I have done twice his work here at "company ABC". I have 17 years of experience in my skills and I've been an architect is some of my roles. "Former co-worker's" skills simply do not even compare. Ask "third party".
Any thoughts? Have any stories like this one that you would like to share?
If you are curious, this is definitely a true story and no, I am no longer considering him for the position he applied for.
What? Penalites for knowingly hiring illegal immigrant workers? I hope you can can you feel the sarcasm...
I ran across this article on CNN titled, "Judge puts hold on immigration penalty letters to employers"
Check out this quote from the article...
The Social Security Administration has sent out "no-match" letters for more than two decades warning employers of discrepancies in the information the government has on their workers. Employers often brushed aside the letters, and the small fines that sometimes were incurred, as a cost of doing business.
But this year, those letters are to be accompanied by notices from the Department of Homeland Security outlining strict new requirements for employers to resolve those discrepancies within 90 days or face fines or criminal prosecution if they're deemed to have knowingly hired illegal immigrants.
What's your take on this?
I'll have to admit that I really haven't been tracking this topic lately and just stumbled upon this article last week. My first question is why this has taken so long to really enforce? I would say that this has been a problem and concern for a long time so we'll have to see if this extra step by the Department of Homeland Security will start to 1. discourage employers from knowingly employing illegal immigrants and 2. discourage illegals from entering the US.
Check out this article regaring what New Jersey police are now being required to do..."New Jersey law enforcement was ordered Wednesday to notify federal immigration officials whenever someone arrested for an indictable offense or drunken driving is determined to be an illegal immigrant".
I also went to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website and found some great consolidated information - here.