At Work from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Mon, 19 Oct 2020 07:32:12 -0700 At Work from Creators Syndicate 8a6567c3a7691abbf1451bfe77d29441 How To Get a Manager To Listen for 10/15/2020 Thu, 15 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: My manager asks many questions regarding every project he assigns me. The problem is that with every question I answer, he cuts me off and begins another question. He never listens to the full answer. I'm afraid he will miss critical information and I will be blamed for leaving out necessary facts. I don't want to be equally rude and interrupt him the way he interrupts me, but I don't know how to get him to listen.</p> <p>A: <span class="column--highlighted-text">Interrupting or loudly talking over a person is generally thought to be rude and ill-mannered. But communication rules and courtesies do not consist of absolutes. You both may have different communication styles and interpretations of what needs to be said.</span> For example, a group of co-workers complained of an employee who was known to overexplain everything. When asked any question, she provided the complete history rather than answering the precise question. Her co-workers dreaded any conversation with her because her answers turned into unwanted lectures. If they tried to say anything, the woman would continue to expound on the topic without a pause or acknowledgement that she was monopolizing the conversation. Eventually, her co-workers changed directions when they saw her walking their way.</p> <p>The first question to ask is whether you are providing the requested information or including every aspect of the project, thinking you are protecting yourself from your manager misunderstanding. Or perhaps you are not prioritizing the information by stating the critical facts first. The same communication rules apply to both writing and speaking. Provide needed information only once, and do not include the obvious. For example, a common error is to begin a written communication with, "I am writing to ... " The reader knows you have written, so delete that opening and get to the point. <p>Updated: Thu Oct 15, 2020</p> 4af3764318bb0b8c6b66a43a64d947d4 What Does It Take To Turn a Hobby Into a Business? for 10/08/2020 Thu, 08 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I recently retired from a job I had for 25 years. I receive retirement benefits that allow me to continue living as I have lived, but I have never lived a fancy life. I have a very small house, the same mismatched furniture I've had for years and inexpensive clothing. I am not materialistic. </p> <p>Since retiring, I have pursued several hobbies I enjoy very much &#8212; making beaded jewelry, painting, reading and gardening. Friends have complimented my jewelry designs, and one friend thinks my pieces are beautiful enough to sell. I told her if I turned my hobby into a business, I would no longer be doing it for fun. She didn't respond, but she has stopped complimenting my jewelry pieces, and I feel she thinks I have an emotional problem that is causing my decision. Does my reason for not turning it into a business make sense, or do you think I have an underlying reason holding me back?</p> <p>A: Going into business means different things to different people. What does seem apparent is that you have made a decision without considering the many options you have for selling items. Many people have held garage sales to clear out unwanted household items and clothing, and they do not see it as a business. On the other hand, people have started businesses managing garage sales for others. A business is whatever a person wants it to be. <p>Updated: Thu Oct 08, 2020</p> 2a526ef1b860e5819911e770447f283c Assessment Testing Makes Best Hires Possible for 10/01/2020 Thu, 01 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>There is no question that accurate assessment testing improves a company's hiring success and leads to greater employee satisfaction. So, why doesn't every company use academically approved, top-level prehiring assessments? According to Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, professor of business psychology at Columbia University, it may be because many human resource professionals lack rigorous training in industrial and organizational psychology or assessment methods &#8212; so if it looks good, they may buy it &#8212; and are not good at measuring performance data.</p> <p>When companies rely on "gold standard" testing, the success rates of the companies and the employees hired could help advance the company's market position. Why? Because assessment testing prior to hiring should save a company on turnover losses caused by poor hiring practices. Two unfortunate situations are hiring employees with the wrong skill emphasis for the job and hiring employees who are ill-suited to the company culture. </p> <p>For example, a rigid corporate environment will be a disaster for an experienced and creative employee who is led by an unyielding and controlling boss. That authoritative behavior will discourage or outright stop the employee's innovative ideas from coming to fruition. <p>Updated: Thu Oct 01, 2020</p> 8353e183675bcbd176b98fbf862bde70 When Sacrifice Becomes the Norm: Is It Ever Too Late To Leave? for 09/17/2020 Thu, 17 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I have a paralegal certificate and went back to school for an MBA, but at a second-tier school. I accepted a paralegal position at a law firm, which turned out to be a job I loved. I learn quickly and became well respected. Six years later, I fell in love with a successful businessman. We married, but immediately afterward, he forced me to quit my job and work for him. He promised to pay me what I was made at the law firm, which he did. </p> <p>I quit the job and became his assistant. <p>Updated: Thu Sep 17, 2020</p> 2a36f734511c2df75a22561fc514a5aa How To Turn Your Time Into Money and More Joy for 09/10/2020 Thu, 10 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Businesses are experts at knowing what their employees' time is worth to them, but few individuals know how to correctly analyze the value of their own time. With "Time Smart: How to Reclaim Your Time and Live a Happier Life" by Ashley Whillans, author and assistant professor at Harvard Business School, there are no longer acceptable excuses for not understanding and practicing the process that has evaded individuals for so long. </p> <p>Whillans has devised a system for discovering "happiness dollars." The initial shift is in changing one's mindset from valuing money to knowing the value of one's time. The most basic example is understood by most and is categorized as outsourcing. </p> <p>Some may think paying others to do one's undesirable chores, such as cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping and cooking, is a frivolous entitlement for the privileged, but if outsourcing one's most undesirable chores frees a person's time to engage in more personally beneficial activities, that spending is no longer a frivolous waste of money. Whillans shows readers how spending up to $18,000 per year for outsourcing can be turned into happiness hours. <p>Updated: Thu Sep 10, 2020</p> 76fdfbaa0b2c9cf003751d39837f9ac5 Afraid of Asking for a Raise? for 09/03/2020 Thu, 03 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I work at a small company, so I accept whatever task is asked of me. The company owner is nice and personable. I like the work, too, which is why I put myself out for him. My helpful attitude has enabled me to take on more responsibilities, which means more work. </p> <p>When an employee left, I took on her job in addition to my own so the owner could take the necessary time to find the right person for the position. He has repeatedly thanked me for not having to hire someone quickly, which could lead to a bad hire. I worked on both jobs for about two months because it showed him what I could do and how dependable I am. He trusts me, so he has even asked me to take on some tasks of his so he can focus on growing the business. I gladly accepted the extra responsibility. I am beginning to feel like his assistant, but I now think I deserve a raise. </p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">I don't know how long I should be performing in this capacity before asking for one; I have never before asked for a raise. I always waited for the yearly increases. The thought of negotiating scares me because I don't want him to think I will leave if I don't get one. What should I do?</span><p>Updated: Thu Sep 03, 2020</p> e1d48f297611b0af9ab2f1de3e8da96b Working Wives Who Never Learn for 08/27/2020 Thu, 27 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I am in a group of workers who is always left out &#8212; wives who work for their husbands for free until we are divorced and left with nothing. I have friends who have made the same mistake as I did, and someone needs to warn them not to do what so many wives do out of love. We devalue ourselves, our experience and our education by working for free because we want our husbands to succeed in whatever businesses they create. We dedicate our time, intelligence and know-how to become the best workers our husbands could want. Imagine being able to hire a person you trust and know is intelligent and efficient enough to do whatever work is needed without complaining or saying, "It is not my job." Wives do this to ensure their husbands reach their business goals and feel successful.</p> <p>We would never think to submit timesheets so we could be paid for our time and dedication, not to mention whether it equals a full-time job or a part-time job. We give up the pursuit of a career that fulfills our interests and passions and would likely reward us much more fully than working nonstop for someone else's glory. </p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">My husband always reminded me, as my friends' husbands said to them, that he was doing it for "us." The truth is he did it for himself.</span> He could have sought a job working for an established company where he would have made a regular salary. He could have put in the time and worked his way up to any amount of money, based on his education, background, experience and ability. <p>Updated: Thu Aug 27, 2020</p> 26068d72a050fa6667f516afaed2b7ea Unfair or Unlawful? Only a Lawyer Knows for 08/20/2020 Thu, 20 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I notified my employer of my future plans to leave a key position, so upper management began to look for my replacement, as it will take quite some time for the person to learn everything. The new hire is younger than I am, but I was told he would be making less than I did. He has started, and we have an excellent work relationship. </p> <p>I also have a great relationship with my supervisor, but I accidently found out this new hire is making a significant amount more than I was told. When I discovered the difference, I told one of my bosses what I knew, and then I remained quiet. I am upset but would not want to sue my employer. I do wonder, though, if this would fall under age and gender discrimination.</p> <p>A: You have a right to feel betrayed by management for lying to you. Though you are not interested in filing a lawsuit, it may give you peace of mind to consult an attorney in such a situation, as he or she knows every question to ask to determine your options. It might also help to calm you down if you learn that your situation may not be as legally compelling as it is morally compelling.<p>Updated: Thu Aug 20, 2020</p> 98a0e9ae69af744eef4953165cd18351 Does the Graduate School Matter? for 08/13/2020 Thu, 13 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I am planning to go to graduate school next year, and I have many decisions to make. I have met many people who regret not making the right decision for a degree, and I don't want to end up in that group. I am certain I want to pursue either a marketing degree or an MBA, so I met with a professional coach for guidance. He informed me that if I want to attend a top-10 university for an MBA, I had to work in a business for around four or five years. He said the typical schools don't have those requirements. </p> <p>Then there is the difference in tuition of programs, and of course, the top schools are more expensive. Graduate marketing programs don't have that work requirement, even at top-10 schools, but I see myself in a position of leadership. Which do you suggest I do? I know you can't guarantee it will be the right choice for me, but I'd like to know how to make such decisions.</p> <p>A: It sounds like your parents or school advisers have prepared you well in advance, which is important for making the right choice. Thinking out loud with advisers gives you time to collect and digest as much information as you need to consider your feelings about each pro and con. Planning allows you time to change your mind so you will be less likely to make a mistake. <p>Updated: Thu Aug 13, 2020</p> 744b319b6ae813717592d5e2b884506e Does Anonymity Have a Place at Work? for 08/06/2020 Thu, 06 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: Why do people tell others to not take ownership and say what they think about situations and people at work? If you work with someone who is not good at what he or she does, you should talk to the proper people in charge and report it. If you complain to a department head or higher up, that leader knows the person who is reporting it and is going to take it seriously. On the other hand, the boss may ignore the complaint if the person is ashamed of signing their name to it.</p> <p>Anyone can say whatever they want if they make it anonymous, and no one will know if it's a legitimate or fictitious complaint. People need to take responsibility for what they say if they want action. An anonymous complaint may wrongly accuse innocent employees or may be due to vindictive feelings made up to retaliate against someone they dislike at work. If employees have real problems to report, they should not withhold their names on the complaints. I think it disqualifies the person from making a complaint that will be taken seriously.</p> <p>A: There's a place and a situation for anonymity when reporting any issue or complaint. In a perfect world, employees could trust everyone at work and feel comfortable talking about any issue that is upsetting or disruptive to the work environment. But the world is not perfect. Humans are not perfect, and neither is management.<p>Updated: Thu Aug 06, 2020</p> d4b57e8ca6b36d26c65677e0bedb44cc Testing Is the Best HR Assistant for 07/30/2020 Thu, 30 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The high unemployment rate caused by COVID-19 means thousands who were once employed are now searching for jobs of all kinds. This means human resource departments have been inundated with online applications and unsolicited resumes. The competition is fierce, and HR cannot and never has been able to interview every good candidate. Some applicants simply don't make the cutoff, no matter how good they are or could have been in the job. The problem is in the timing. While great candidates may not be included, candidates who are just acceptable due to their keywords may pass through.</p> <p>An efficient way to weed through the candidates who made the pass is through preemployment testing. Ken Crowell of the website EmployTest says: "Education is not enough, nor is a degree in in a specific field, nor is a license to practice in a particular field. Many people have formal educations but cannot do the work. Whether it's simple math, accounting knowledge, reading comprehension, grammar or just plain common sense, testing is the most efficient way to screen for candidates whose educations are backed up with skills, abilities and practical knowledge."</p> <p>EmployTest has hundreds of tests for any size company to use in the hiring process. One benefit of preemployment testing is to save a company from the losses experienced by bad hires. A company can lose 2.5 times an annual salary from a bad hire. Testing used to be limited to Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies due to the expense. This is no longer the case. EmployTest has made it possible for the smallest of companies to purchase a minimum package of five tests of any kind for a cost every company can afford: $149. The digital tests are administered online, so HR no longer needs applicants to take tests in person. This method helps eliminate applicants who were counting on charm and smiles to help them through the process.<p>Updated: Mon Aug 03, 2020</p> 55372e06014d12fc62dc8347e5f6f7cd Bad Client Inspired a Career Change for 07/23/2020 Thu, 23 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I worked in a high-paying position for many years. I was good at troubleshooting, meeting deadlines and biting my tongue, so I didn't complain. I carried out every assignment I was asked to until I couldn't stand it anymore. I had received compliments for decorating and renovating buildings and individual rooms, and I was good at math and formulating calculations. It made sense to me to go back to school to become an interior designer.</p> <p>I routinely complete every goal I set for myself, so completing school was no different. After graduating, I got a job as an assistant to an owner of a design company. I liked the work, but the owner was difficult to deal with daily. After a year, I left to start my own business designing and renovating properties. I solicited clients and got them right away. The jobs got larger, but as they grew, the clients became fussier. I decided to focus only on decorating, but I offered to include renovation plans for any rooms they wanted. I had clear and precise contracts so there would be no misunderstandings. They had to find their own contractors and manage their own rehab jobs. </p> <p>What I learned in being a business owner was that clients don't listen, regardless of what they sign. Though I put money, time and effort into a career change, I discovered things about starting your own business that no one tells you. I felt like I had to have the strength of a bull in dealing with clients, but I had to smile with every communication. I discovered I didn't have the patience didn't like who I had to be to get things done. I was blessed to be able to return to my previous job.<p>Updated: Thu Jul 23, 2020</p> c33aefbb8e11beca6134f65db0e33133 Getting the Job Doesn't Mean Keeping It for 07/16/2020 Thu, 16 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Getting the Job Doesn't Mean Keeping It</p> <p></p> <p>Q: I was introduced to a company through a friend/connection. I had a very positive and friendly Zoom interview with the department head who I would report to. The next week, I received a call offering me the job. <p>Updated: Thu Jul 16, 2020</p> e5fe4439a26313542f9dd30a641bc806 Lifeboat Mindset Can Save You From Sinking for 07/09/2020 Thu, 09 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Resilient people easily adapt to change, while reality-deniers sink with the ship. What happened to travelers on the Titanic can happen to companies refusing to change. A unique mix of character traits creates a resilient person, one who gets through challenging times when changes are needed for survival and resources are limited. </p> <p>Maggie Craddock, a veteran executive coach known for her work with Fortune 500 CEOs and senior management, a certified family therapist and the author of "Lifeboat: Navigating Unexpected Career Change and Disruption," saw similarities between those who survived life-threatening conditions when the Titanic hit the iceberg and employees and management able to survive the threat of bankruptcy and total disruption of an established company. The "Lifeboat Process" was born as she researched the qualities of people who survive crises.<p>Updated: Thu Jul 09, 2020</p> 822133f134f39cfcd4cd97cc796c2088 The Soft-Glove Reprimand Works Best for 07/02/2020 Thu, 02 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I am a department head in charge of my own hiring. I am usually astute in choosing a person to hire, but my new assistant has a personality trait I did not detect. In the interview, she listened attentively and answered each question clearly and completely. She was bright and graduated from a good university. </p> <p>We have several meetings each week. I am the head and lead the meetings with other department heads attending. I have my new assistant there to help her become familiar with the company and the job. The problem emerging is her aggressive and inappropriate behavior. When a department head poses a problem, my assistant jumps in and responds as if every comment at the meeting was addressed to her. She had done this in several meetings, so I can see this is a personality trait showing she does not adhere to any hierarchy. It seems narcissistic, as if she must be the star in every meeting.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">I was taken aback when it first happened and thought it was due to nervousness.</span> It is not. It is the way she is. I said nothing because 1) I did not want to shame or embarrass her; 2) I did not want to discourage her so early on in her employment; and 3) she is bright, and I think she has potential. Now I am stuck with what to do without her taking offense and clamming up and shutting down. She does not want my job; she does not have the experience needed, so that's not the problem. Help, please! <p>Updated: Thu Jul 02, 2020</p> 7983dbbf69d2067774a4626f5987a1fb Too Old for a New Job? for 06/25/2020 Thu, 25 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I had a successful work record in accounting for 10 years prior to returning to school for an MBA. My husband had been laid off from his unimpressive job, so he convinced me to temporarily move back to his hometown in Iowa to be near his aging parents. We both looked for jobs, but there were no large companies in the area, so we both looked for jobs that were beneath our education and work experience. </p> <p>The pay was extremely low for these jobs, but we took them knowing we were not going to be making this our permanent home. The interviews were personal and unprofessional, as if they didn't know what they could and could not ask interviewees. I didn't challenge any of the interviewers because I kept telling myself it was temporary.</p> <p>We've been here three years now. His parents are doing fine, and I've had it. I feel if we don't move to a big city, which is what I've always liked, my education would be a complete waste of time and money. Having grown up here, my husband seems to like being back home near his family. <p>Updated: Thu Jun 25, 2020</p> 63dc5b8d24b031fc9d870b721116db56 How To Become a Go-To Employee for 06/18/2020 Thu, 18 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>A bachelor's degree is not enough for getting a job and keeping it. The degree shows a student has the ability to study and absorb information from each class. Hopefully, the student has chosen a major, though students often change majors as they become more familiar with the field. After graduation, no one will be interviewing and testing students on what they learned in school. Experienced interviewers will judge interviewees on their maturity in providing appropriate responses to their questions. They will also pose hypothetical business situations to determine one's creative and critical thinking skills.</p> <p>Competition is fierce, and the days of entitlement are over, unless one's parents run a family-owned business. Even then, they may want a son or daughter to learn the business before allowing them to attain a management job.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 18, 2020</p> 7d2accf5404f4cf9079fbc3a007e106e Onboarding: Sink or Swim for 06/11/2020 Thu, 11 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The first weeks of onboarding can set the stage for a new hire to either fall in love with the job and the company or wish he or she had rejected the offer. Onboarding is the introductory period for new hires, ranging from one day to one month in a well-prepared company. This is when new hires are fully introduced to the company and the role &#8212; or thrown into the pool and told to sink or swim. </p> <p>According to Jean Juchnowicz, human resources consultant, interim leader, career coach and founder of Human Resources Simplified in Sarasota, Florida, onboarding is critical in helping new hires smoothly and successfully ease into the job, the company and the environment. This is the opportunity for HR professionals to show their warmth, poise and professionalism in introducing new employees to co-workers and key people, as well as the company's policies, procedures, technology and culture. It's a chance to show the new hires all they need to know to feel confident about their new job. This may also be where new hires learn that not all company cultures are open and friendly, despite all the smiling that took place in the interviews.</p> <p>During a good first day of onboarding, new employees should be shown their office or work area, have the technology and equipment set up (if onsite), be given a tour of the operation (physical or virtual), and meet their co-workers and bosses. The HR professional should explain the organization's culture and encourage questions. A well-prepared and organized HR professional may have a "welcome checklist" to ensure everything is covered. After signing all the legal and company-required documents, employment and confidentiality agreements, and payroll and benefits information, the representative should also review the company's mission, vision and values statements. Explaining the company culture is important for quickly integrating the new hire into the company and for knowing how to address people, who to report to and who to never ask for anything.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 11, 2020</p> 64b62a14486c0e79e3e64c4c6fb908da Remote Work Has Changed Communication for 06/04/2020 Thu, 04 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: Our entire company has been working remote since March 15. We have resorted mostly to texting because it is much faster and more efficient than sending an email and waiting for an answer. It allows us to get work done more quickly. </p> <p>Someone complained about being texted often, so management sent an email to employees asking us to use email instead. My department has talked about ignoring the directive because texting has worked out so well. We wouldn't text people we don't regularly work with, but we think texting within a department makes sense. How should we handle it?</p> <p>A: Texting is different than sending an email, and there are reasons for using both, regardless of whether you only text those in your department. The speed of texting is a plus, and so is receiving an immediate response, as long as the person receiving the text has his or her notifications turned on. Texting is perfect for questions that require a brief, yes or no response, assuming the company approves of phones being openly available to employees. But you have to consider the downsides as well.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 04, 2020</p> 57678a3a1f161d443f6565605df2428a Watch as EBT Changes Employee Satisfaction for 05/28/2020 Thu, 28 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The field of psychology has been accepted by businesses and has taken on various uses in the office. As emotional and behavioral problems come into play in the workplace, people can choose between psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapies, which focus on patients learning about themselves to change their troubled thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Various types of talk therapies were developed and introduced into the field, all tied to establishing a therapist-client relationship to effect positive changes. The approach is designed to help people fit into acceptable norms. Individuals sometimes went from one model to another, repeatedly seeking solutions to the same problems.</p> <p>The introduction of emotional brain training, or EBT, a science-based program in emotional neuroplasticity, will change the field of psychology. Some think a brain cannot change once it has been programmed by life experience. The EBT process proves otherwise. <p>Updated: Thu May 28, 2020</p>