At Work from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Wed, 18 Sep 2019 01:21:33 -0700 At Work from Creators Syndicate 694c29a57326e9713d1ccac0c6050ec6 Critical Tips for Phone Interviews for 09/12/2019 Thu, 12 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>You may not like phone interviews, but the human resources department loves them. One job posting may receive more than 100 resumes of qualified candidates, and no HR department has the time to bring in that many people. The task of narrowing the number may be handled by a software program, but once ill-suited candidates are eliminated, the HR staff steps in to complete the process. Hence the phone interview. </p> <p>Jean Juchnowicz, owner, CEO and interim HR manager of Human Resources Simplified in Sarasota, Florida, uses the phone interview to screen candidates as a way to save everyone time. "If a person doesn't come across well on the phone, whether it's due to poorly answered questions, odd verbal behavior, or inappropriate questions asked, the phone interview allows me to rule out people who are not a good fit for the job and the company," she says. </p> <p>She also appreciates the convenience phone interviews allow, as she can conduct them while traveling, between meetings, clustered together or spread throughout the week. Interviews can last anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the level of questioning needed to select the best candidates for in-person interviews. In her role as an interim HR manager, Juchnowicz has asked up to 15 questions per interview to develop a feel for each candidate's personality. She listens closely to grammar, tone, verbal clarity and overall communication skills, also noting if a person spends most of the time selling himself or herself, asks petty and superfluous questions or seems bossy and pushy.<p>Updated: Thu Sep 12, 2019</p> de0646ceb42e52eb5328fd2117dfe459 Networking: Staying Safe When Meeting Strangers for 09/05/2019 Thu, 05 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: A friend talked me into accompanying her to an open networking event for people in all fields. I feel weird initiating conversations with strangers, so I like to observe people until I feel comfortable. My friend introduced me to several of her friends there, and one of them started talking to me. </p> <p>She was friendly and mentioned needing to update her design portfolio, so I became more interested in the conversation. Soon after, she changed the topic and I sensed something "off" about her. As I asked more questions, her information didn't add up; she was not someone I wanted to get to know or help. <span class="column--highlighted-text">I had already given her my card, so I couldn't ask her to return it. She texted me twice. The second one I ignored. I now feel my dislike of networking events is justified.</span><p>Updated: Thu Sep 05, 2019</p> 8184cb641566cca42194a5f43efd0bd0 From Kind to Insulting to Kind Again for 08/29/2019 Thu, 29 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I have worked closely with a colleague for more than six years. Each time I thought I knew her, she changed personalities. She started out as kind and helpful, always willing to recommend me to the boss and bring me in on her projects. She was working at a higher level than I was, so I greatly appreciated the recommendations because I was always learning new things. I pushed myself to perform at a higher level than many of my co-workers. I worked hard and long hours because I never wanted to disappoint anyone on the team. Word spread, and more of her colleagues asked for me to be on their projects. I continued to advance in my level of work, and I became known as someone who could learn anything &#8212; someone to be counted on no matter what the work involved. I put work first and let nothing interfere.</p> <p>The woman who championed me turned from nice to controlling and authoritative. Her advice turned from helpful insider hints to arrogant put-downs, as if she had to assert herself so I would know she was higher up in the hierarchy than I was. I ignored her attitude change; I was still appreciative for having always been recommended. I'm the kind of person who never forgets anyone who helps me along the way. But after a few more years, she changed again, only this time she turned into a negative, arrogant control freak &#8212; one I could not tolerate. <p>Updated: Thu Aug 29, 2019</p> 72cd0c7c0e86846b5ffad40f6b272094 What to Do When a Boss Doesn't Act Like One for 08/22/2019 Thu, 22 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p></p><p>Q: I worked at a charity-run store for one year. Our manager was an alcoholic, but we didn't know it until he fell off the wagon. <p>Updated: Thu Aug 22, 2019</p> 0dec977c7cad7af2344115513fe05cf0 Boss Gives Top Sales Leads to Men Over Women for 08/15/2019 Thu, 15 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I worked as a sales representative for a nationwide company for five years. About 40% of the sales force consisted of female sales reps, yet the men were the only ones to make it into the "Achievers Club," where they made up to $300,000 compared to the females making just over $100,000. As top achievers, the men also received gifts such as extravagant vacations, Rolex watches, stock options and more.</p> <p>The reason the men made three times more than the women was because our female boss favored men by giving them top-quality leads that offered the greatest potential. The women received leads offering the lowest potential. Our boss knew which leads were the best, and she alone controlled the distribution. I brought up the topic to her several times, but nothing changed.<p>Updated: Thu Aug 15, 2019</p> c2132462e00262254df492f06fc6da8c Courage Required: Reporting an Addicted Colleague for 08/08/2019 Thu, 08 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: When we receive assignments, we are sent in pairs to work at the client's office, sometimes for months until the job is finished. My work partner was exceptionally nice, so all was cool. I drove us to the client because I find driving calming. </p> <p>She was great at first, but I saw behavior changes as the day progressed. She was wiped out toward the end of the day, and it continued into the next morning. Sometimes she was too tired to talk on the ride there. One day I walked in on her taking pills. She said she wasn't feeling well and seemed shaky, but I didn't want to pry in case she had a medical condition. I told her I would do her work until she was better. But it continued for the duration of the assignment. In the last week, she collapsed after taking a pill. The client saw her fall and called for help. It turned out she was on a mix of drugs and alcohol. I didn't recognize this, and I never felt I had the right to ask. Now I feel naive and stupid.<p>Updated: Thu Aug 08, 2019</p> c587976ee9101ce0c3b95f1c98269fb8 Nanny Cares More Than the Mom for 08/01/2019 Thu, 01 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I work as a nanny for an agency that finds part-time to full-time jobs for us. I'm in my 20s and have had three part-time jobs so far: one at a school where I taught dance and light martial arts for young children, and two others where I took care of a couple children in each family. They were all fun jobs with great parents. </p> <p>The family I work for now recently had a baby. Both parents work at home and can't take care of the baby, so they hired me to work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. The father is not involved with the baby at all, and the mom handles everything when I'm not there. She told me she doesn't like changing the baby's diapers, so when I arrive in the morning, the baby is sitting in soaked diapers and needs a bath to clean her up before I can put a clean diaper on her. The baby fusses a lot when her diaper is changed, so the mom told me she doesn't like to change it. That means the baby lies in a soaked diaper all night until I arrive. <p>Updated: Thu Aug 01, 2019</p> 233ab70cad0afde8b5978eaf3c5b353c All Ranks Too Scared to Communicate for 07/25/2019 Thu, 25 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I've worked for a county department for nearly 20 years. When I interviewed, the woman who was a supervisor at the front desk told me I smelled. I was hired despite that. In my 15th year at work, I was transferred to the front desk, and that supervisor became my supervisor. We've had two skirmishes so far about that same issue. She and others also said they were upset I hadn't taken the test to become a clerical supervisor.</p> <p>The first skirmish was when I stopped speaking to my co-workers. I did so because they were on her side. I was written up, so I spoke to the supervisor's boss, who laughed at me. A week later, she asked us to see a therapist, which neither of us did.<p>Updated: Thu Jul 25, 2019</p> 4ecee61edff02b25437a132b45775821 Love Triangle at Work Clouds Rational Thoughts for 07/18/2019 Thu, 18 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I work at a school in Los Angeles. I have been friends with a coworker there for seven years, but we started dating 1 1/2 years ago. We met while working at another school but never worked in the same department until this school. Our offices are across the hall from each other, but I'm in the office for only half the day. No one at work knows we are a couple, but I have recently become pregnant.</p> <p>A few months ago, the human resources person began spending a lot of time at his office door and in other open areas, giggling and talking to him about non-work topics. I can hear them; their laughing and personal conversations stood out since he would privately complain to me about her trying to micromanage him, which is a problem since his only bosses are the CEO and COO. She also began standing in my office doorway to chit-chat and then moves over to his office.<p>Updated: Thu Jul 18, 2019</p> f2019bee03b724639f09dc1449f7f602 Research Aids in Negotiating Skills for 07/11/2019 Thu, 11 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p></p><p>Q: I'm uncomfortable negotiating when offered a salary; I've always just accepted it. I have good work experience, and I graduated from a good university, but through casual conversations, I know men with lesser backgrounds and fewer abilities who are making more than I am. Most guys don't seem to have the apprehension women have in negotiating. What does it take to get ahead?<p>Updated: Thu Jul 11, 2019</p> 0b7d93ff79382cce4a38e484b6ede9c7 The 'Be Nice' Corporate Culture Failure for 06/27/2019 Thu, 27 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I worked in field sales for a large company and worked on my MBA simultaneously. My life was exciting in New York City, but when I finished my degree, I was offered an unbeatable job in California. It's quite a feat to uproot your life to move across country, but the money and opportunity was too great to refuse. My friends told me not to go, but I wouldn't listen. </p> <p>When I started, I was told that the most important thing to do was to be nice to everyone, to always make sure that people are happy and to never say no to anyone's request. Nothing was said about performance &#8212; ever. I noticed no one was given guidance, instructions, support or even information on a project. The unspoken message was "Everyone's smart, so figure it out without asking how." It was insane. <p>Updated: Thu Jun 27, 2019</p> 2d0eb2c95d00fb681a9bf130296342f2 Can a Dream Job Turn Into a Nightmare? for 06/20/2019 Thu, 20 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I began a new job several months ago. I want the type of company to remain confidential, but I have always liked working for small companies with a family environment. This job was my dream job, and I was excited to leave the job I had. My new bosses were kind, welcoming and helpful. </p> <p>Recently, I have been given additional duties in which I have no experience. Learning these new tasks is all-consuming and takes time away from the original purpose of my job. I am studying at night so I can efficiently execute the tasks, and I've had to give up outside activities that are my passions. A friend was concerned I was burning out, but I waited for so long to find this type of job, so I don't want to say anything to ruin my future there. Is there a solution?<p>Updated: Thu Jun 20, 2019</p> 5465210019ea63b86ec3415543d0b944 Choose Majors Wisely: Some Jobs Require Graduate Degrees for 06/13/2019 Thu, 13 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I've just finished my bachelor's degree, and the only thing on my mind is getting a job. My best friend has been casual about it because she's considering continuing on for her master's degree. My parents can't pay for my school, so I took out a student loan to get through. I'd like to continue on to graduate school but thought I should first get a job and focus on paying down the loan. I know other kids who took out loans and are not concerned about it, but it bothers me knowing I owe a large amount.</p> <p>The bigger problem is that I know having a master's degree would help me get a much better job. My close friend from college (whose parents are paying for everything) is going for an MBA, while I will only have a bachelor's degree in psychology. What would you do in my situation?<p>Updated: Thu Jun 13, 2019</p> 144f47da0e2ceaa3bcbaf033dd83d4ba Will Artificial Intelligence Replace All Employees? for 06/06/2019 Thu, 06 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: Articles on artificial intelligence make me wonder if all positions can be replaced. I believe medical science has gone too far in saving those who no longer have any quality of life, so now I worry that artificial intelligence may go too far. Will employees in the field of artificial intelligence be the only ones whose jobs are safe? </p> <p>A: Artificial intelligence (AI) poses questions for all who have to work, but it could serve as a motivator for putting your best effort into your performance. <span class="column--highlighted-text">AI is most definitely impressive, but you can't choose a field that doesn't suit your abilities and personality. You won't succeed by allowing fear to be your motivator.</span><p>Updated: Thu Jun 06, 2019</p> 1c89ad0406813cab54e0ce3185f3c5dd Millennials Are the Best, Treat Them as Such for 05/30/2019 Thu, 30 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Employers of all sizes seem a bit lost as to how to hire, manage and keep millennials (born 1980-1996) from bailing after they've stayed a couple years in their jobs. After all, their parents (the baby boomers) stuck it out for a lifetime whether they liked the job or not. They left only when the salary offered a better lifestyle, where they could amass greater properties and luxury items to prove to outsiders how well they were doing. Their conversations often centered on their latest acquisitions: bigger boats every couple of years, more prestigious cars, larger houses in more affluent neighborhoods, and collecting one vacation home after another as a convenient way of changing scenery according to their desired interests and weather.</p> <p>Not all baby boomers lived life at the top, but those who hadn't made it financially admired and envied those who had. The one thing the haves and have-nots had in common was rearing the millennial generation, and their goal was to make life more comfortable for their children than it had been for them. What they didn't foresee was that comfort translated to being treated well &#8212; not based on performance &#8212; but focused on following one's heart, mind and soul. Millennials did not adopt the work-till-you-drop attitude of their parents. Compromise does not equal sacrifice, so why would they want to experience the stress their parents felt at work? Those were the negative moments children are better off forgetting.<p>Updated: Thu May 30, 2019</p> a6b00bd79efaeb827553b36a708e1e51 Undermanagement Causes Financial Chaos for 05/23/2019 Thu, 23 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I have a bachelor's degree in business administration, but I accepted a financial job that didn't require a degree at a pension management company. My boss, who was not a certified public accountant, had never reviewed the work of the woman I replaced. I began reviewing all her work and discovered problems in every area. She had never balanced the books or the bank reconciliations. </p> <p>I explained the problems to the boss, so he brought in outside auditors to review the accounts. I furnished all the records to the auditors, and they corrected everything. I have maintained accurate records since that time. <p>Updated: Thu May 23, 2019</p> 63923ff8cfac01c409a1f30f5d706d74 Ousting Bad Teacher Helps Students for 05/16/2019 Thu, 16 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I'm an English literature teacher who also independently tutors students from the other small, local colleges in the area. A student from one of those colleges hired me to meet with him weekly because he was confused by the assignments he had been given. I decided the student was sharp, intelligent and serious but that his teacher was terrible.</p> <p>The students were required to answer questions and write an analysis each week for various reading assignments. When I reviewed the assignments and the teacher's feedback on each paper, the problem became obvious to me. The student was not the one with the problem: the teacher was. The instructions and requirements for each assignment were so poorly explained even I could not understand what the teacher wanted. I discussed with the student the teacher's flaws, only to find out this teacher is the head of the English department at that school. <p>Updated: Thu May 16, 2019</p> 9d20d9d0dd180407d168af5a5f560c50 Brother Works Brother into Poverty for 05/09/2019 Thu, 09 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: My brother convinced me to visit him in the U.S., so I applied for a temporary visa and came. I left many friends and family members there. I miss them and my life. </p> <p>After arriving here, he met an American girl, fell in love, married her and now has children, so he has established his life here. He was setting up a business and wanted me to come here to help him, which I did. He paid me well, and I worked on construction for him 10-12 hours daily. When my visa was close to expiring, he talked me into staying illegally so I could continue working for him. <p>Updated: Thu May 09, 2019</p> c1e10e1415481cc6bcf6dd84ad579c1f Your Career Path Is Your Own for 05/02/2019 Thu, 02 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: Money wasn't important to me, so I didn't negotiate a salary when one that I thought was too low was offered. I didn't even think someone could negotiate salary unless it was for a management position. Also, I never wanted to be a manager, as I had no desire to be hanging over others, telling them what to do. I wanted a job where I could work independently, do the work well and leave at the end of the day and not be faced with people problems.</p> <p>I am now looking for a new job, and I've been asked if I've ever had others report to me. I say "no," but should I explain that I chose not to at that time? I worry it will reflect poorly on me. The truth is I didn't want to feel higher than others as if I am better than them, and I certainly can't tell an interviewer I never cared about money. Have I dug myself into a hole too deep to get out of? I have always had excellent performance reviews, and I would like to now move into management.<p>Updated: Thu May 02, 2019</p> 3077bba03b8b6485a6ae6500394d550a The Price of Not Checking References for 04/25/2019 Thu, 25 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I headed a team at a marketing company, and we needed one more person to balance the talent. The company lined up the people for me to interview, and I made recommendations to the vice president of the department. Human resources said it would handle the reference checking, so that was good. I interviewed a guy whose resume was impressive. He knew a lot about the business, so his background and jobs were believable. He was a little weird in the interview, but I couldn't tell why. The company went ahead and hired him to join my team. </p> <p>In his first two weeks, he told me he had severe ADHD and took five tranquilizers to calm himself down for the interview. He grew progressively worse and acted like a rabid animal when I asked him to do things. He couldn't complete any of the tasks and then came his outbursts. He admitted to me that he was also bipolar. Disregarding his mental issues, he never could complete any of the jobs. He would start each one and then freak out and not work on anything. <p>Updated: Thu Apr 25, 2019</p>