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Posts Tagged ‘jobs’

May the “Force” be With You…

September 20, 2011 Leave a comment

When you get that long awaited job, there is hope and anticipation. You will be able to hold your head up. You will be able to pay your bills. You will be.. an indentured servant? It may well feel that way, all too soon.

Sir Richard Branson, a well known and successful business man thinks poorly of American attitudes toward our workforce, (and I agree with him!) “Sir Richard Branson, the British entrepreneur who has started about 300 companies, doesn’t think much of American policies regarding flextime and vacations. He calls the amount of holidays “horrendous…. Branson says that in the U.S, companies seem to believe that employees should work for them full-time or not at all. But many employees would love to have a job where they can job share, work part-time, or take 6 months of leave. Employees are too scared to ask, he says… American vacation policies stink, Branson says. Branson believes that employees need time to see their children, to reenergize.” (HR Daily Advisor, September 14, 2011)  What a concept. Life outside work. (No more 30 days paid leave in civilian life, you know.)

And these lovely managers use emotional force to get the obedience they think they deserve:  check this out: “What ‘job leveling’ means, in plain English, and how it’s applied to align employees’ actions and behaviors across the workforce”. I don’t know about you  but I feel this describes a bull dozer. ..leveling all in  its path.

A”s the U.S. economy improves, complaints about pay compression (employees drawing similar salaries despite big differences in their experience, skills, and seniority) will simmer out of control in many workplaces. “BLR®—Business & Legal Resources 9-12-11 More happy thoughts! Simmering resentment. I wonder why?

There are American companies that have the human friendly attitude Branson has, where both customers and employees are happy. Find one! So again… the trick is the fit.  You may miss the sense of mission you had in the military, but you can be happy—with the right fit.

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For the Love of.. HR?

September 13, 2011 Leave a comment

A Facebook friend of mine points out that “HR”is a form of propaganda. Depressing huh? Still we have ti deal with them, dont we?

 

Read on an HR resource:

*** On a plane, a seatmate asked Lott what his job was. Lott said, “I help companies avoid lawsuits.” “Are you a lawyer?” asked the seatmate. “No, I’m in HR,” Lott said. “Oh, that’s worse,” the person said.” http://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/archive/2011/09/05/Training_YouTube_Test_HR_Lawsuit.aspx?source=HAC&effort=14

“HR has three pieces to its job, Lott says: the harmony part (morale, culture, conflict resolution), the productivity part (since the recession, getting at least 110 percent out of everyone), and the compliance part (not getting sued). http://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/archive/2011/09/05/Training_YouTube_Test_HR_Lawsuit.aspx?source=HAC&effort=14

 Sadly, HR is probably worse than law. (I’m a lawyer.) Most people think they are experts at getting things done—even when  that involves others whose job it is to complete various tasks. Of course, very few of us really are experts on this-or on human behavior. How many of get out OWN to-do lists done? Not many.

The best advice I have seen on an HR post lately is this from “Are You a Manager or a Controller? : Hurricane Helps Us Find Out” Friday, September 02, 2011 3:00 AM, by Steve Bruce:

“A lot of executives [read humans] mistakenly believe they’re in control. They think they’ve climbed to the top of the ladder to be in charge. But really the best we can do as managers is, well, manage. All the planning and preparation in the world doesn’t allow you to control events, it only helps you influence or affect the outcome.

It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about your customers, employees, shareholders, or a hurricane, you can’t control what they do. Knowing the difference between controlling and managing can help you to focus on the things you can truly control.”

http://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/archive/2011/09/02/Epinions_Management_Hurricane_Irene.aspx?source=HAC&effort=16

This also applies in every facet of life. Focus ON WHAT IS REALLY in YOUR hands. Tomorrow—how to stay resilient in the depressing hunt for work.

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Read on an HR resource:

*** On a plane, a seatmate asked Lott what his job was. Lott said, “I help companies avoid lawsuits.” “Are you a lawyer?” asked the seatmate. “No, I’m in HR,” Lott said. “Oh, that’s worse,” the person said.” http://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/archive/2011/09/05/Training_YouTube_Test_HR_Lawsuit.aspx?source=HAC&effort=14

“HR has three pieces to its job, Lott says: the harmony part (morale, culture, conflict resolution), the productivity part (since the recession, getting at least 110 percent out of everyone), and the compliance part (not getting sued). http://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/archive/2011/09/05/Training_YouTube_Test_HR_Lawsuit.aspx?source=HAC&effort=14

 

Sadly HR is probably worse than law. (I’m a lawyer.) Most people think they are experts at getting things done—even when  that involves others whose job it is to complete various tasks. Of course, very few of us really are experts on this-or on human behavior.

The best advice I have seen on an HR post lately is this from Hurricane Helps Us Find Out

Friday, September 02, 2011 3:00 AM
by Steve Bruce:

A lot of executives [read humans] mistakenly believe they’re in control. They think they’ve climbed to the top of the ladder to be in charge. But really the best we can do as managers is, well, manage. All the planning and preparation in the world doesn’t allow you to control events, it only helps you influence or affect the outcome.

It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about your customers, employees, shareholders, or a hurricane, you can’t control what they do. Knowing the difference between controlling and managing can help you to focus on the things you can truly control.” Are You a Manager or a Controller?

http://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/archive/2011/09/02/Epinions_Management_Hurricane_Irene.aspx?source=HAC&effort=16

This also applies in every facet of life. Focus ON WHAT IS REALLY in YOUR hands. Tomorrow—how to stay resilient in the depressing hunt for work.

 

110 Words That Should Never Appear On Your Website—or Your Resume!

Seen on the Internet–good advice—don’t  blow smoke at someone you want to impress.

“Adjectives are great but only if specific, descriptive, and directly applicable to what you do.  Use plain language, avoid generalities, and skip the hyperbole.” http://www.linkedin.com/news?viewArticle=&articleID=683758455&gid=3727071&type=member&item=65012449&articleURL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bnet.com%2Fblog%2Fsmall-biz-advice%2F10-words-that-should-never-appear-on-your-website%2F966&urlhash=iNJ_&goback=.gde_3727071_member_65012449

In the society we live in, we are constantly being bombarded with hyperbole.  (And flat out lies, if the truth be told.)  “Happy cows come from California.” First off, the happy cows in  California live in vast, unholy feedlots. But second, how  on earth would it follow that the cheese is better  based on the fake happiness? Lies–so common we think nothing of them. Almost any ad is based on some lie that you will be sexier or richer or happier if only… if only you BUY THIS ITEM. Except you won’t. You will still be… you.

Dishonesty seems to be on the rise as competition heats up for jobs, college seats, etc.  “Statistics show that cheating among high school students has risen dramatically during the past 50 years… 73% of all test takers, including prospective graduate students and teachers agree that most students do cheat at some point. 86% of high school students agreed.” http://www.glass-castle.com/clients/www-nocheating-org/adcouncil/research/cheatingfactsheet.html

So, it may seem natural to do the same things—lying and puffing up your qualifications—when  it comes time to seek that job. After all “you” isn’t good enough, right? You need a nicer car or aftershave to be OK.  And if the above statistics are representative the large majority of you will. But this blog is not for the large majority—it is fort he few who wish to bring something they possess into the workplace, to serve the well-being of their own souls (and the rest of us)  in some way.

So here’s the skinny: tell the truth. Be descriptive. Be detailed. Be passionate. If you are like me, you may have taken some of your best skills and abilities for granted—because they came easy to you. Own those. Inventory what you have done in your life, paid and unpaid, and make sure you have the big picture of what you have to offer the world.

Then tell it like it is. No holds barred, no apologies… no BS.

Managers Call In Sick More Than Employees

Seen in USA Today: more evidence it pays to be careful where you work. A poll of 60,651 people taken by Replicon shows that managers used 3.6 sick days a year and non management employees used 2.8. It also showed summer is the time most folks call in sick, which does make for some suspicion as to the possibility the sickness is either fictitious—or from too much fun in the sun.https://secure.smartbrief.com/news/bscai/storyDetails.jsp?issueid=9C7E624E-A806-48C0-A7F7-7CA7B00B51D2&copyid=5F53DC70-D9AA-4DFC-A7C3-40BE457E739E

What does this say to job seekers? Note that in the US, no vacation time is mandated by law: “The U.S. federal government dictates that employees are given exactly zero paid holiday and vacation days a year (that means, if you get such things, it is because your employer is being generous/in a benefits arms race with other employers). In most countries workers gat paid vacation by law: “In every country … except Canada and Japan (and the U.S.), workers get at least 20 paid vacation days.  In France and Finland, they get 30… an entire month off, paid, every year.”http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2010/01/31/paid-holidaysvacation-days-in-the-u-s-versus-other-oecd-countries/

What this says to me, boys and girls, is you really had best do what you love, and love what you do. And if you really DO love what you are interviewing for this will be very clear in the interview.

Now, some of you will be interviewing for management jobs. This means more pay—and more stress. So, again—if you love the job, and dare I hope PEOPLE, you are once again at the top of the heap.

Just remember… everyone can’t finish first. That is one reason this blog is not for everyone. Only those seeking true excellence and service.

 

All Work and No Play

Seen on another blog: “Do they take sick days?  If so, how frequently?  Are they motivated and fully engaged? Do they conduct themselves in a professional manner?  Do they respond well to constructive criticism?  These may seem like obvious questions, but most executives and managers neglect to ask them and think about them critically.” http://launchingliveswebsite.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/the-role-of-the-manager-in-employee-satisfaction/

 

Scary. If you get sick you are a bad employee.

 

Funny thing—I never called in sick when I was working. Never. (I was sick once in college and once since I got out of law school, but I tend not to get colds. But most people do. That’s why “sick days” exist.

 

So on what basis can any employer hold it against their workers if they use them? Now, if the employees is not really sick that might be a concern. But is might also be a symptom. If this is a “bad” employee—one who does not want to work, or is not happy at that job—who hired them? Who is really missing the mark here?

 

But deep down most folks want to work and they want to be happy at work. They want to know they matter- to the mission and to the organization. It’s human nature. If a company has managers who believe otherwise there is REALLY something wrong.

 

By the way—people do need time off. In the military I had 30 days if leave a year. RIGHT AWAY. I didn’t have to work a full year to get it—it was simply part of the package. Somehow the United States managed to service with 100% of its military members having all this free time.

 

For what it is worth “flex time” is a hot topic these days in HR. Treating people well is an investment in the “bottom line.” Most workers have families. Children who are in day care and school much of the day. Many have aging parents they care for. (By the way when the FMLA was passed employers screamed bloody murder… but I have yet to hear of a single one closing its doors due to this law. The big corporations are richer then ever…)

 

And as Peter Drucker pointed out in “first Things First” no one has even been heard to utter, on their death bed: “I wish I’d spent more time at work…” So pick your job well!

A Refreshing Resource

Read in an HR post:

“We all have a desire to belong and contribute to something larger than ourselves. It’s why we join clubs, associations, and groups. It’s also why many people come to work each day. But for them to remain motivated and excited about their work, they need to understand what’s going on at the company where they’re dedicating so much of their time and energy. They need to know that what they’re doing really matters.”http://blogs.hrhero.com/oswaldletters/2011/07/29/open-and-honest-communication/#more-1125

How refreshing! And true!

There is a reason I taglined this blog “not for everyone.” That is because I am aware most people are unaware that the real reason most people are happy at a job is the desire to be part of something. Too many people in America today work because they have enormous debt, or kids to educate. Or both.

I was self employed for many years because I only had two jobs as a lawyer where I was happy. TWO. All the others were ordeals and I finally decided to ditch it and be self-employed. I did what made me feel I was making a contribution. I made less money and no “benefits”–like health care or a retirement plan–but I was happy.

My main audience for this blog is retired military members. I suspect some of you also liked being part of something—as I did for my 6 years kin the Air Force. So this post is for you. If you have a retirement income and can take your time seeking a job where the employers understand what this web site advocates—do it.  No amount of money can satisfy you if you work in a place where you are treated badly and the management is brain dead—graduates of the “Attila the Hun school of management” as we used t call it in my consulting days.

So in your job search, interview the company—at east as much as they interview you. Make sure they understand the truth that is laid out above. That people need to be connected, respected, “in the loop”, valued… appreciated. YOU will be at your best– and THEY will do their best to bring it out and support it. Everybody wins. And if you are going to be in management… treat people this way.

Semper Fi!

Good Old HR…

I know I am dumping on the people you think you want to hire you, but… knowledge is power. You n3eed to know this stuff. Here are some well founded opinions other than my own, posted on LinkedIn:

“I am an experience leader and manager with a solid background of hiring mentoring and releasing employees. This idea that a credit check is a good tool for selecting employees is truly false. The professional HR people have gone way to far in their business of poking into the private lives of people whom they would consider hiring or screening for some one else who has that authority. In summary the professional HR folks have a bad case of elitism that needs to be reigned in if not totally done away with…
Art Swezey”

“It is tough for the right people to get in the right positions to influence this change. Issues like this will only change by hiring insightful leadership who stays aware of what is going on and doesn’t allow things to stay the way they were just because it has worked so far. Being a leader in your company and hiring new people requires boldness and careful attention to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Thank you Mr. Swezey. I try to see things for what they really are and cut to the heart of the issue.”

http://www.linkedin.com/groupItem?view=&gid=129394&type=member&item=54319966&report.success=62WUlrnddR6bgwSqXhj6sMCTLzs-Mtpi3fLJWbNsWtuooxKwgTL8r5xsvgkbozKwEkXBakadko

Further, there is no “Human Resources” department in the military, so you may want to use this as one of many possible resources to learn the nature of the world you are trying to enter.

It is a world of people who do not really know how to hire or how to fire. It is a world of large companies. (None of this applies if you are working for a smaller company.) The large number of hiring and firing lawsuits attests to the truth of my assertions–and those of the two folks I have quoted.

So this also goes to the manta “make sure you do your research and this job really is a fit.” If (like me) you do not suffer fools gladly… you may want to stay away from large corporations.

Signing off for today…