At Work from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Fri, 20 Oct 2017 01:39:39 -0700 At Work from Creators Syndicate fe8bf2afd391072fd307a740a1c726a7 One Bad Hire After Another for 10/19/2017 Thu, 19 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I started a new business and had to hire several employees for varying jobs before I really knew what my all my needs would be. I knew I needed minimum wage employees, so I ran ads in my local area and I conducted the interviewing, which I didn't think was a big deal. I got a good response to the ads, so I know that was done correctly. I alone knew what I needed done and knew how to describe the various jobs. When I met with each applicant, I know I clearly described the job and made sure each person understood the duties, responsibilities and requirements. Some of the jobs required heavy lifting, so I informed all of each job's requirements. </p> <p>When each person started, he or she seemed competent. Each worker was good in the beginning, but as a month or two went by, situations arose with each employee. The excuses were many. Suddenly, daycare became a problem and the employee (both moms and dads) would call and need time off without offering a set schedule as a resolution. Then there were sudden doctors appointments for themselves, their children and other family members, and health problems of their in-law problems, and court dates and having to go to the airport to pick up a visitor, repeated car accidents, and a list of other unforeseen events that destroyed their reliability. Then there were those I caught stealing &#8212; money and petty cash included, inventory, office supplies and time. I even thought maybe one person was running her own business on her off-hours, but taking my office supplies home with her to run it. <p>Updated: Thu Oct 19, 2017</p> cc64c6daa3d5ab3cfd3c596a1c41d90a 'Thank You' Doesn't Replace More Money or Time for 10/12/2017 Thu, 12 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I have not received a raise after two years at my company. At my interview, I was told I'd receive a year-end review and bonus based on performance. I worked my butt off and was complimented throughout the year on what an amazing job I've done. I exceeded company goals and received compliments even from my customers. I see now we are underpaid for the job, even if we had received bonuses. Instead of a raise or bonus, we were given additional responsibilities, and a group vacation. Great! Just how I wanted to spend my only time off!</p> <p>I work 12-hour days, seven days a week. I am wiped out at the end of each day, and nearly brain-dead by the weekend, so I have no time to update my resume or network. All those compliments are worthless to me. I have no life and no time to improve it or take my own vacation. </p> <p>The industry is tightly knit, so I can't rely on confidentiality if I apply for another job. I learned that the hard way years ago. I can't talk to my boss because the no-raise/no-bonus situation was announced to all of us. I also really like my boss and the employees, which is a first for me. What does a person do when there's no way out?<p>Updated: Thu Oct 12, 2017</p> a9d7bb561478529c2c83e92c01fa8418 Facing Reality Makes Decision-Making Easy for 10/05/2017 Thu, 05 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: My boss is dysfunctional in many ways and also probably a narcissist. He thinks and acts like he is more important than anyone else, including his own family. (I have heard him on the phone with his wife.) As for staff, he hurls insults and calls us derogatory names if anyone makes the slightest mistake, or what he thinks is a mistake. And he blames us for doing things that are not true. We are never allowed to defend ourselves, and God save us if we open our mouths in any way while he is criticizing us. If we ask questions, he calls us stupid; if we make a suggestion, he orders us to "stop talking." He will take away an assignment he had given to one of us and gives it to someone else, loudly saying that maybe that person can do it correctly. We don't think he is aware of pitting us against one another, but fortunately, we all get along and stick together. I have never known or worked for anyone like this, but I can't quit until I find another new job. Suffice it to say this man is sick, and not in a good way. How do I make this situation more tolerable and how do I explain why I am looking for a job without commenting or exposing this man's craziness?</p> <p>A: Few adults can change or break bad habits, even when they want to. So imagine what it would take to change a personality. Simply put, it can't be done. Since you're not ready to give notice, don't jeopardize your job by talking to him other than to answer his direct questions to you. Your goal of tolerating the situation is to remain passive and uninvolved. You've already seen that he interprets anything you say as a challenge to raise his ire. </p> <p>It's a plus that you and your co-workers see the obvious problem and feel a bond with each other so his divisive attempts fail. Do your job as best you can in these conditions, and accept that the man has severe emotional problems that will prevail.<p>Updated: Thu Oct 05, 2017</p> 31f46dd542d4c75699904436b47333d9 How Stereotyping Affects You At Work for 09/28/2017 Thu, 28 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: People often refer to each generation with its own name, but how many actually know the exact group the name refers to? According to The Center for Generational Kinetics, Gen Z, iGen or Centennials are those born 1996 and later; Millennials or Gen Y are born 1977 to 1995; Generation X was born between 1965 and 1976; Baby Boomers were born 1946 to 1964; and Traditionalist/Silent Generation was born 1945 and before. <span class="column--highlighted-text">But a 22-year-old hardly has anything in common with a 40-year-old, yet they are both millennials. How can this kind of stereotyping be helpful?</span></p> <p>A: These individuals vary in generation, but also vary in specific age, education, job experience and gender, and they have all been affected by stereotyping, negatively and positively.<p>Updated: Thu Sep 28, 2017</p> e6b3bf44cc5e7f14ec7d0e178702f71e Fired After Workforce Layoffs, No Benefits for 09/21/2017 Thu, 21 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: Only two of us remained employed after five others in our department were laid off. The company experienced a loss of business within the last six months, so when we didn't have orders to fill, we were asked to do other menial tasks, which made sense since we were still receiving our regular salaries. The orders were fewer and fewer as time went on.</p> <p>The owner came in a couple times a week and walked the premises to check on the employees working. He was known for his foul moods and anger when anyone made a mistake, no matter how minor it was. I had witnessed him venting and using foul language at really good employees. I can understand his being upset with his company's decline, but everyone was on edge when he was present. One day when he was in, I made a minor mistake that would not have been detectable once repaired, but my supervisor told me he had no choice but to report it. </p> <p>I don't often make mistakes, in my 25-year career, I have never been fired and never made a mistake that had to be reported. Had the owner not been in that day, my supervisor would not have even disciplined me for it. I apologized to the owner who proceeded to tell me it was a bad mistake and a report had to be filed about it. <p>Updated: Thu Sep 21, 2017</p> 3bfd4629dba496dd00e4d20804603ed5 Co-Worker Obsession for 09/14/2017 Thu, 14 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: A co-worker copies many things I wear and activities I do, and it's making me nervous. She colored and cut her hair the same as mine, wears the same brands and styles, and when asked by co-workers, has told them I am copying her. When she started asking me where I bought things, I told her. Once I saw her copying me, I stopped giving her the information, but her obsession has continued. She asks me detailed questions &#8212; what am I doing this weekend and with whom. It's weird and scary, and I don't think I can deal with it much longer, but I'm afraid confronting her could anger her and I don't know what she might do. </p> <p>A: Since you probably don't want to quit your job, move to a new state and change your name and phone number, you will eventually need to speak to her about her curiosity about your life and activities. If you have evidence she may be a threat, you need to tread lightly. The question then is how can you safely approach her without stirring her anger or potential for revenge. This could be a harmless annoyance by someone who has no social life or social skills, or the prelude to a dangerous situation, depending on how she reacts to being confronted. No professional can provide you with unquestionable instructions on the right way to approach her, because regardless of experience or specialty, professionals may differ on advice. Since you are the only one who knows everything that has transpired, and you alone know your level of fear and discomfort, consider all suggestions, but go with your gut when you talk to her. </p> <p>Before you reach that point, tell your boss about her behavior, but firmly request that he or she hold off from taking any action. You are simply reporting it for the record. Unless you work at a mental health facility, your boss is not likely to have the psychology background needed to make a decision based on protecting you. Neither will your company's human resource department, as its focus is to reduce the company's liability if anything should happen at work. <p>Updated: Thu Sep 14, 2017</p> cea64d8be57a9065c4d6674d6bf3e771 Disarming A Negative Past To Create A Positive Future for 09/07/2017 Thu, 07 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I have a few serious problems that interfere with me getting a job, and I would like to know how to present myself to a company. I am in my 40s, single and intelligent, but suffer from bipolar disorder and anxiety. I've held several professional jobs over the years, but they caused so much stress for me I either lost or had to leave the jobs. I've been living with my mother since then. </p> <p>I know I need to return to the workforce to help my mother pay expenses, and I think I am ready to seek part-time employment. Currently, I volunteer at a women's center and write freelance articles. I know from my past work performance that I'm responsible and accountable, but I am fearful of stress causing serious problems for me again.<p>Updated: Thu Sep 07, 2017</p> 6a87e456dd99edff598244172581a110 Understanding An Abusive Boss for 08/31/2017 Thu, 31 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: When I interviewed with my current boss, he seemed dynamic, intelligent, helpful and caring. When I began working for him, he was helpful and kind to me, but everyone he called into his office got reamed out. He used profanity, name-calling, and lectured each one, treating them like idiots. None were. I would see their expressions &#8212; deflated and disheartened &#8212; as they left his office. Some were emotionally tougher than others, but none was exempt from the effect of being shouted at, insulted and demoralized. They returned to their desks with an overall disappointment in themselves, and they would try again to do it correctly, according to the boss' instructions, which changed after each reprimand. </p> <p>I wondered why they stayed in their jobs. Of course they needed an income, but when I asked one of them, he told me he agreed with the boss' criticism, but not the manner it was delivered. They were all smart, but they were so beaten down they felt inferior and couldn't see their worth anymore. <p>Updated: Thu Aug 31, 2017</p> 60999a0e4bd199b5fea2471288adcb55 Making The Best Of Job Status Change for 08/24/2017 Thu, 24 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I am a woman in my early 60s who has worked for the same public relations firm for four years doing extensive bookkeeping with QuickBooks, managing the office, streamlining day-to-day operations, processes and systems, delivering monthly management reports, managing daily written correspondence and communication, handling office inquiries and conflict resolution and providing customer services.</p> <p>I get along well with my co-workers and they appreciated my work. I made occasional mistakes, but no more than anyone else at the company. My boss was always demanding and overly critical, but I have always acted appropriately and my performance reviews were good. </p> <p>The company experienced business and management changes that caused my job to be redesigned, which in turn caused my employment status to go from full-time to part-time. This change places me in a difficult financial situation, so I am now looking for a second part-time job so that between the two, I will be able to support myself. <p>Updated: Thu Aug 24, 2017</p> c37eab93c546e55afa3df653ef071642 Continue Job Search Until Written Offer Is Made for 08/17/2017 Thu, 17 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: Out of the blue, I was contacted by a corporate recruiter who said her large firm was looking to hire a handful of people in my field. She wanted to know if I knew of anyone interested. The recruiter sent me the job description, which sounded like a perfect fit for me, so I called and expressed my own interest in the position.</p> <p>The next day, she interviewed me by phone and explained more about the job and the company. The interview went well and she arranged for me to speak the following day with the person who would be my supervisor. That conversation also went well. The supervisor said he was impressed with my credentials and asked for references. I sent them the same day, thanked him for the interview and reiterated my interest in the job.</p> <p>After a week of silence, I called for an update and was told the hiring process had taken longer than expected, but I was still a candidate. Still, no word on when or if I would hear back from the company.<p>Updated: Thu Aug 17, 2017</p> 5ef6c6542574a849d8118260c7402748 How To Find A True Mentor for 08/10/2017 Thu, 10 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I listen to videos of "master class" presentations of successful people marketing their systems and methods for ways to make extraordinary amounts of money. But in their introductions, they always attribute their success to having met or connected to a person who had been willing to take them under their wing to teach them. And of course, those mentors or champions didn't charge them. Perhaps those individuals took them in and taught them business because of family or social connections, but most people in the general public often don't have those family connections, or even relationships with business people who are willing to genuinely help others. </p> <p>I think mentors are important to someone moving ahead in an organization. But when my friends and I talk about moving up and getting ahead, not one of us has ever met anyone who has gone out of their way to help us get there. Mentoring may have existed years ago, but it seems as if it's dead. Out of all of the Millennials with degrees, you can't tell me that none of us are worth promoting along the way, but it doesn't seem to happen. My friends and I have business degrees, and we have all had to find new jobs to better ourselves financially and workwise. People who become sales reps can obviously be measured by their sales, but when you're working on a team, it's not always clear how much a person contributes, especially since there are always certain types who promote themselves beyond their honest contributions.</p> <p>How do we recognize and connect with bosses who will extend themselves to help an employee who cares about work and wants to develop a future at that company? <p>Updated: Thu Aug 10, 2017</p> a551ad8c8ecac8f73d5494b8ab0be3e6 Best Way to Find New Job, New State for 08/03/2017 Thu, 03 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I have lived and worked in several regions of the U.S. &#8212; the East, Southeast, Midwest and West. I would like to return to the East, which was my original home, and I have chosen certain states I would consider moving to. I have preferences, but I want to remain open and would be satisfied living in any heavily populated eastern area.</p> <p>I've registered on many job seeker sites, listing the states, industries and jobs suited to my education and background; I hope to make this move my last, as I have moved around enough in my life. I didn't start moving to different regions until my late 30s and 40s, so now that I want to return east and not move again, I'm not sure how to approach this. Wanting to return and stay in one area seems to have increased my confusion rather than to calm it. I am not tied down to one state, but I would like to stay east due to family and long-time friends. </p> <p>I also don't know how to explain that I am not open to moving again after I find a new job. I don't want a company to think I have a desire to wander; moving was something that happened due to my field and the offers that appeared each particular time. I need to know what to say and what not to say.<p>Updated: Thu Aug 03, 2017</p> bd9749748cefa0e0fb8b7f02643b1a36 Stop Your Job From Ruling Your Life for 07/27/2017 Thu, 27 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I've been in my job for two years. At first, it was the best job ever. In the second year, we had business and management changes that affected the entire company. The business changes redesigned my job, which presented interesting challenges. I was open and excited about the future. As we took on the new way we did business, we experienced greater challenges, which doubled my work. As this year progresses, these changes have caused my work-days to run from 6 a.m. (I have to get up at 6 a.m. to prepare for the day, which can run anywhere from 7 to 10 p.m. Monday to Friday, and sometimes weekends. </p> <p>The job is now devouring me and I have no time for a serious job search. Help!</p> <p>A: You are on the road to disaster - physically, emotionally and mentally - if you continue your pace and attitude. You always have options. You may not like all of them, but to better your situation, you will have to choose one. <p>Updated: Thu Jul 27, 2017</p> 2ae0c1171c8e259849f6d01f1dd9b776 How To Change The Work Environment Without Quitting for 07/20/2017 Thu, 20 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>AT WORK</p> <p>BY LINDSEY NOVAK</p> <p>RELEASE: THURSDAY, JULY 20, 2017<p>Updated: Thu Jul 20, 2017</p> faaf993b00216027e808d5147e4a8024 Set Up For Failure for 07/13/2017 Thu, 13 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: After 10 years, I resigned from my position as a department director at a medium-sized company. I had been asked to take on a second full-time position in addition to my job, and I could not refuse. My boss said I was the strongest producer and added the greatest value. After one year, I knew I had to leave because of the many hours needed to do both jobs. I was exhausted and it was taking its toll on me. Also, since the additional job was added to mine, my boss began micromanaging me. I felt the two reasons were enough to justify leaving. I've started networking and sending letters, but when and how do I explain my resigning without having another job?</p> <p>A: Job searches can take a great amount of time and energy, especially as a person onto jobs requiring greater responsibility than the previous ones. Make sure your resume clearly shows you held two full time positions simultaneously, listing the correct dates for each one. Treat each job separately, though, showing the projects and the accomplishments for each. </p> <p>Any recruiter who contacts you will understand why you resigned, but you can go into detail in your interview when asked. Explain you could not continue pouring in the hours necessary to be successful in each job. Had you added the hours for a job search, both jobs along would have suffered. Further describe yourself as having strong work ethics, which is why you accepted the second position. Express how you tried to do everything both jobs required, but you wanted a more balanced life. If a company objects to your explanation, (you will know this by further questioning about the situation) that is your warning that you'd be walking into the same kind of mess as the one you just left.<p>Updated: Thu Jul 13, 2017</p> e4609542bae5e46ddc9b775a6bd9498b Worker Happy With No-Stress No-Goals Job for 07/06/2017 Thu, 06 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: While others are consumed with finding themselves and getting into the right careers, I am happy in my no-stress, casual atmosphere, and easy-task job. My problem isn't my job. It's all my friends who can't seem to leave me alone about it. They vary between the friends who continually email me job leads in corporate settings and those who email me articles on motivating oneself and building confidence. Then there are the repeated conversations about "you could do so much more, you're not fulfilling your purpose, you're not making the money you could make, why are you doing this, and what are you afraid of." I could go on and on about all the things friends think I should be doing, and I don't know how to stop them. Maybe they are right &#8212; that I'm not living up to my potential &#8212; but that's my choice. I don't want to go into therapy to find out why I am not "driven" to succeed. I don't understand why everyone keeps throwing it in my face and can't accept my decision to have an average job. I can't take the stress of a corporate job where I have to produce work like a factory worker being measured for production who doesn't like the work, anyway. Money doesn't motivate me. Buying designer clothing and accessories doesn't impress me. My lifestyle bothers them, and frankly, I'd like to just ask why they are still friends with me if they don't like or agree with my values. Help me stop them.</p> <p>A: "The road to hell is paved with good intentions," (attributed to Cistercian Abbott Saint Bernard of Clairvaux &#8212; 1090 -1153), which means one must not only intend to be well behaved, one must act well behaved. You may call them "friends" based on the far-distant past, but when friends don't accept your values and decisions, it may be time to call them by another name, if they haven't already thrown you aside socially. </p> <p>Here are a few possible choices. Many people hang onto childhood friends, even though they realize they no longer share anything in common, other than to reminisce on the past. These relationships can be positive or negative, depending on the amount of value one places of the other's opinion. It's important to recognize the different expectations from a now-superficial friend compared to a close friend. <p>Updated: Thu Jul 06, 2017</p> 487ead4e3251a9a206a76d6463c8bf5a Bring Your Dog to Work Day for 06/29/2017 Thu, 29 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I work at a medium-sized, privately owned company that is much like an extended family without the arguments. When people disagree, they discuss things. No one ever yells or shouts, and there is certainly no swearing. That's why I am surprised at the response I received. </p> <p>Not much was going on at work, and we had some very quiet days. The two main bosses were out, and everyone was keeping busy with their standard duties. We have a very warm, casual atmosphere at work, and I was left in charge, so I announced that it was Bring Your Dog to Work Day the next day, and everyone loved the idea. We carried it through, and some people even brought cats in that get along with dogs. No one brought in dogs that were aggressive; in fact, no one at work has an aggressive dog. And there was nothing that was pressing to get done.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 29, 2017</p> 9219c15e6177cb433bfd6ad12ba67d83 Who Is The Boss? for 06/22/2017 Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I am a psychotherapist with a client who has had an ongoing problem that involves his workplace and boss. I hope you can tell us what the proper protocol is in this situation. My client, "Jim," took a part-time job as an assistant to an elderly man who handled public relations for nonprofit events. Jim was interviewed and hired by one of the man's sons (none live near their father). Jim was hired for his organizational and computer skills and he and the elderly man were to work together in the man's office. Early on Jim realized that his boss was forgetful about details &#8212; sometimes he had dates wrong, did not bill correct amounts to the few clients he had, and did not keep to the hours that Jim and his son had agreed to.</p> <p>Jim and I talked about the issue from several perspectives: his wanting to keep the job until he found something better, his boss's defensiveness when Jim corrected him, and the ethics of whether Jim should tell the son about the father's cognitive slippage and incompetence to now do his job. We addressed whether his boss's children, since they did not living nearby, even knew that their father was experiencing these problems and whether Jim should tell them. His boss was generally a difficult man, so Jim felt unable to discuss the situation with him. Our question is whether Jim should alert his boss's children to the father's cognitive issues or just let it go and move on to a new job.</p> <p>A: You were interviewed and hired by the man's son, so this alone may signal that there is some sort of problem. Considering the various possibilities, the man may have told his son he was too busy to interview candidates, or that he hadn't interviewed people in a long time and wasn't aware of the employment laws anymore, but the likelihood is that the son knew something more and he offered to do it for him when his father said he needed help. Whatever the situation is, being interviewed by the son opens the door for you to contact him. Talking to the son may even ease the pressure and difficulties you've experienced in the job.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 22, 2017</p> 62f7ab98fbb57ee51e790bcd7ef5c54a How To Write Your Own Evaluation for 06/15/2017 Thu, 15 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: We just received a memo stating we have to write our own evaluations. It is not a loose assignment; we have to directly answer 10 questions on the form. Many questions involved, double questions asking us to describe what we think about our current job requirements and duties and the company itself. They've asked for our suggestions for management, procedures, policies and the way of doing business. They also want to know our thoughts on our business relationships in and outside the company, our personal activities outside the company, all future goals &#8212; business and personal, and our aspirations. </p> <p>It's hard enough to write about my job, but I think all the questions involving personal lives and activities outside the company are invasive. I also worry that some questions are trick questions, as if management hopes to find information that can be used against us. I am also concerned about offering suggestions for management and our jobs because the bosses might see the information we give as proof of what we don't like. </p> <p>I feel damned if I say too much or even say anything, and damned if I don't. It's an evaluation of the company, our positions, and ourselves, so nothing can be anonymous. What kind of trap is this and how do I get around it?<p>Updated: Thu Jun 15, 2017</p> 9207948648d5b201518e6b5aa86bd3c1 Working Too Fast? for 06/08/2017 Thu, 08 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: My dream job began at a small startup. The owner is 31 and dynamic. My immediate supervisor is 28 and I'm 26. The three of us are high energy and focused on getting things done, as there's a load to do. We don't know why, but the owner had also hired a person over both of us who is supposed to create and organize the projects. We could have easily done this ourselves. </p> <p>She is twice our age, but not in experience. She switched careers and only worked at two other startups, each for a year. She is our problem. The cons are many: She is rigid, closed-minded, controlling, argumentative and orders us to do things her way only and micromanages us. She is also incredibly slow at everything she does. She takes an hour to do what we could complete in 10 minutes, and her work quality is poor. Maybe because she sees us as young, she talks at us and refuses to listen. If we start to speak, she orders us to stop talking. She doesn't want to hear suggestions on anything, even if they are more efficient ways to organize a project and speed it up. <p>Updated: Thu Jun 08, 2017</p>