At Work from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Mon, 26 Jul 2021 08:12:18 -0700 At Work from Creators Syndicate a2faec2d5c0aff90bef474a28f791ebf #MeToo Wasn't Enough for 07/22/2021 Thu, 22 Jul 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The #MeToo movement outed only the top guilty parties, but the entertainment industry is filled with similar expectations of newbies and up-and-coming actors, alleges a woman who wanted nothing but to write film scripts until she discovered the extras that were expected of her.</p> <p>As a highly attractive young woman with a sharp mind and high test scores, Ms. X was accepted into the competitive program in screenwriting. She learned the topic quickly, yet despite her quick-study performance, the professor asked her what she was willing to do for her degree. She firmly refused all advances, completed the degree and secured a coveted job.<p>Updated: Thu Jul 22, 2021</p> 3e145dd005db56b05e0b38ef4711597f Can Time Off Hurt One's Future? for 07/15/2021 Thu, 15 Jul 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I worked part-time throughout college, and then graduated and immediately got a full-time job. After a few months, I decided I had accepted a job too quickly; I want to take several months off for traveling. I thought now would be the best time to experience new things before I get the kind of job I would commit to. I should have thought about this before getting a job, but I really want to do this! I hope my sudden decision to leave work to travel will not hurt me later when I feel ready to get a serious career-type job.</p> <p>A: You are at the perfect time for experiencing life before starting a major career, so don't beat yourself up for not immediately realizing what you want to do. As a recent college graduate, you are still young and no worthwhile company or hiring manager should hold this change of heart against you. </p> <p>In fact, you are proof that the new generation of college grads is not flaky nor entitled. Lining up a job after graduating was a mature and responsible act, and you are allowed to make mistakes early on. Suddenly deciding you want to travel before developing a serious career is perfectly acceptable at this point in life. You can only benefit by experiencing this new freedom after years of schooling. Assuming no catastrophic events occur on your travels, you will have more to offer a company when you return with a new level of maturity and open-mindedness. Meeting new people from various cultures, lifestyles and backgrounds other than your own is a brave and exciting beginning to your adult life.<p>Updated: Thu Jul 15, 2021</p> e26a0580765ad73fcd77f87a1da71cb7 Keeping Or Getting A Job for 07/08/2021 Thu, 08 Jul 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: After 20 years of "excellent" performance reviews at the same company, I was laid off. Six months before that day, my boss wrote me up for being incompetent; then he said I didn't work well with my team; then he said there was no longer enough work so he had to let me go. Guess what followed? He called me the next Monday to ask me to work as an independent contractor. I fought back using all my reviews and letters from clients and suppliers thanking me for such good servicing of their accounts. Tell employees to save everything. There's nothing like hard evidence to dispute an unethical boss and a company trying to write its own laws. </p> <p>A: Twenty-two years is a long time to save records, but it saved you when you most needed it most &#8212; once you reached the age for caution in the workplace. It's sad when employees with great work histories and current accomplishments have to protect themselves from age discrimination situations, but it's a reality employees must face as they age. <p>Updated: Thu Jul 08, 2021</p> f53d1ad9f236b2b0324807ee92ddabfd Workplace Clique Creates Misery for Others for 07/01/2021 Thu, 01 Jul 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I started a new job at a small company with mostly female employees in administrative-type jobs &#8212; filing, secretarial, reception. They have all worked together for quite a while, and they go to lunch together every day. We are all in proximity to each other in the office, but they have yet to invite me or include me in their lunch plans. This hurts me because I know it's intentional. I hesitate to invite myself because that will probably start them gossiping about me being aggressive or desperate. </p> <p>I don't think I can speak to the boss because if he talks to them about it, it will backfire on me. I'm still fairly new, but the atmosphere is miserable and not improving. I want to like where I work, but I don't know what to do other than start looking for a new job. It's not as if this job is to die for. Help!<p>Updated: Thu Jul 01, 2021</p> e890a072d6388f9f7a014203bb63265e Company Hires Workers No One Wants for 06/24/2021 Thu, 24 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I work for a privately owned company with an owner who is supremely cheap. Everyone has one-and-a-half to two jobs, and the owner refuses to hire others. He makes sure we tolerate the conditions by hiring people who have a hard time getting jobs elsewhere. He piles on extra side jobs, and we are forced to do them. We all work to the point of exhaustion, which means we are more liable to make mistakes. </p> <p>I am meticulous in my work, even though I am loaded down with jobs that could keep three employees busy. I made one minor error due to being overworked, and my boss pointed out the error in my recent evaluation. I was furious and hurt. My boss pretends to be on my side, but what kind of manager marks a person down in performance for making a truly minor error? I had asked for more money, and my boss used that one mistake to deny giving me an increase. I have to continue being nice, but it infuriates me. Plus, I am so overworked, how will I ever look for another job when I have never-ending projects? How do I get out of here? I need a job and can't just up and quit without one.</p> <p>A: Quitting without having another job lined up is not practical, but neither is working yourself comatose so you can't help but make mistakes. I agree you need another job, so you may have to devise ways to take off. <p>Updated: Thu Jun 24, 2021</p> a87c4dd1bc9f63ee10cda04756220eef Remote Work Wins, Despite Management for 06/17/2021 Thu, 17 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Employees return to work in the office, but management is less than happy. Businesses recently reaching out to consultancy Seyfarth at Work for training and management solutions report being distressed at many of the behaviors they now see. The workplace has not returned to business as usual, nor will it. Employees who switched from in-office to remote work have become accustomed to their newfound freedom: They worked in the privacy of their own homes, created their most favored work schedules and got their work done as it was assigned. But they made an important discovery in work hibernation: They became in charge of their time, work style, social needs and any breaks they deemed necessary to remain productive and happy. Yes, happiness and joy are now high on their list of important factors for returning to the office for a job. And why shouldn't they demand the culture that suits them if their work is accurate and completed on time?</p> <p>Philippe Weiss, attorney and president of Seyfarth at Work, has received numerous calls from clients shocked by their returning employees' new attitudes. Management apparently thought remote workers would return to work as usual; this is not the case as they wished. Privacy is no longer as highly valued nor as fully respected. Employees are bringing their work-at-home freedom to the office by engaging in social chatter, banter, sarcastic remarks, joking, invasive personal questions and stories that, pre-COVID-19, would have been whispered on the down-low only to their special work friends. The private weekend experiences are now brought to light for all to hear, including coworkers who don't wish to hear them. So, Weiss and his national team of attorney consultant-trainers had to respond quickly with an action plan.</p> <p>"Now, business owners are wondering if hosting their traditional employee summer outing is as prudent a choice as in prior years," says Weiss. If the raucous employee behavior of the office increases once outside, the liability may not be worth the risk. What has been necessary is a reorientation where all employees are treated as something akin to newbies and reacclimated to professionalism norms. <p>Updated: Thu Jun 17, 2021</p> 9da18d2a8c331a3a1f3cffc2f32f10fe Is Freelance Or Regular Pay Better? for 06/10/2021 Thu, 10 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I work as a full-time employee for the company owner, who is my direct boss. </p> <p>He has asked me to work on a project outside my job description and he offered to pay me as a freelancer in lieu of giving me a raise. He also told me I could do the freelance work during my regular work hours. My gut feeling is that it's a bad idea. How should I handle this?<p>Updated: Thu Jun 10, 2021</p> 14f82ccc41be090f2b3de3fb41e44299 One Bad Hire After Another for 06/03/2021 Thu, 03 Jun 2021 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 Jun 03, 2021</p> 4552b1bcb3ce6fb52d402351d033ca9f Back to Stress Of Working at the Office for 05/27/2021 Thu, 27 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: The pandemic has been difficult for many, but for me, working remotely was like a vacation. I have been a bank executive for several years. Many people joke about working banker's hours, but it is silently stressful. When I work at the office, I have constant interruptions with phone calls and in-person meetings. COVID-19 allowed me to plan my work for days at home where I could work straight through and get everything done. I have an office that I set up at home, and I accomplish everything I need to do, regardless of the hours I keep. If I want to continue working until 10 p.m., I do so because I love the peace of my environment.</p> <p>The bank recently announced everyone would have to return to working at the office &#8212; no more working at home, despite the amount of work we completed. That means I have to return to a position filled with stress that can only be avoided by working at home. <p>Updated: Thu May 27, 2021</p> 21b480075ca0e70b931aa5bad3d5da45 Interview the Interviewer: Fear Will Get You Nowhere for 05/20/2021 Thu, 20 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I froze up and didn't ask the interviewers all the questions I had and accepted the job offer too soon. I've replayed the interview in my mind, and I think I didn't ask anything because I felt intimidated. I had already decided I wanted the job, so I didn't think questions were necessary. But I never would have imagined what took place after I joined the company. </p> <p>I thought I would be reporting to the managers who interviewed me. Doesn't that seem obvious? I was not. They put a secretary over me. Not just any secretary but a rigid, controlling one who told me what to do and how to do it. She was not familiar with my specialty, and I don't even know if she had a degree. When I streamlined a way to do something, she would not allow me to implement it. The setup for the job was absurd, but I never said anything to the original interviewers. I hated every single day and was thankful I was able to find another job six months later. But again, I didn't ask questions in the interview. It has worked out so far, but what kind of questions would be appropriate and not sound negative, picky or paranoid?</p> <p>A: Many candidates freeze in their interviews, fearing their questions will discourage the company from hiring them. First, if a company balks at hiring you because of professionally presented questions, you are better off not working there. Though transparency should be every company's focus, it is not. If an interviewer avoids answering a direct question about the position, the boss' expectations, the work style preferred by the company or the company's procedures regarding the assignments, something is wrong. You may not be told what the problem is, but when you get that gut feeling that the interviewer is dodging the truth, accept it. Of course, finish your interview, but seriously consider what was not mentioned to you before you accept a position.<p>Updated: Thu May 20, 2021</p> 22468cbac77228173c59c6b3270b8f8b Too Much Information of the Wrong Kind for 05/13/2021 Thu, 13 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I work within a group in our department where we have our own projects but all have the same job titles. We are responsible professionals, but we have a great company culture and are always friendly, considerate and helpful to each other when someone is swamped. We love our casual environment, and it's obvious to all our company is well-managed. Our manager trusts us to create our schedules and meet our deadlines to complete our work on time. This leaves us a bit of time each day to socialize with each other. </p> <p>One of the members in our group is young and newly married, another is getting married, and the remaining five of us are single. We all get along despite our different lifestyles. We have one major question. During our social interfacing, the newly married member has shared some of her married experiences &#8212; and they are not positive ones. We don't like to gossip, but we have talked among ourselves about whether she knows that her husband is emotionally abusive. We don't know if we should say something to her. </p> <p>Because she is the youngest in the group, we think she may not know his behavior is wrong. She doesn't ask what we think about the behavior, but the fact that she tells us says that it is on her mind. We don't want to get together as a group (even though we all agree his behavior is abusive) and ambush her. Is it appropriate for one of us to say something privately? We also don't know if perhaps, one at a time, each of us casually tells her he is treating her poorly.<p>Updated: Thu May 13, 2021</p> 7d0a452302bab7e0d5f97c068ccc42bb How To Choose the Best Career for You for 05/06/2021 Thu, 06 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I am 35, and I have been in information technology since the beginning of my career. IT jobs are often well-paid and easy to find, but they are not what I want to do anymore. I am thinking about changing fields, but I am hesitant. I realize I will lose my seniority if I leave my job and my experience won't matter if I leave the field. Is it crazy to switch this far along in my career?</p> <p>A: It is never "crazy" to search for a career that will fulfill you, especially when you are no longer happy with the one you're in. Your IT experience could transfer to a related field while keeping or increasing your salary, but if you want out of working in any position connected to IT, it's time to look into your choices. Keep your job while you are researching other areas of interest as well as the salaries involved in those areas. People can quickly change their minds about changing fields when they see how much less they might be making by switching. This shouldn't negate you wanting to find a position in a different field, but you will want to be able to support your current lifestyle while learning what kind of changes may be necessary. </p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">The first step is to be open-minded to researching new fields. When discovering the various choices, gather as much information as possible so you don't end up substituting one dislike for another. Impulsive decision-making often ends up in regret.</span><p>Updated: Thu May 06, 2021</p> 6650cb4c1bd0c2fa11cf2bc8c88989f6 Don't Wait for Friend to Be a Partner for 04/29/2021 Thu, 29 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I had a perfect idea for a friend and I to start a business together. We are both very organized, methodical, research-oriented and energetic. We went to local colleges and are not using our degrees for anything special. When we talk about college, we agree it seemed like a waste of time and money. We both have regular office jobs.</p> <p>I have heard local people talk about clearing out things (not junk, but not super expensive items either), but they are afraid of selling through online companies because of scammers. My idea is for us to help people sell everything they want out of their homes &#8212; like estate sales managers, but their homes are not estates. I am good at researching prices for used items, and I know people who have had bad experiences selling online with people buying and complaining about the item, and then demanding refunds. The companies seem to always back the purchasers.<p>Updated: Thu Apr 29, 2021</p> f6bf5e0b04cb3f32a10aeb54619da168 Returning to Work While COVID-19 Is Present for 04/22/2021 Thu, 22 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Employment lawyers around the country, including Jeff Beemer of Dickinson Wright PLLC, have been asked the same question recently: When is the right time for employers to require employees to return to working in the office? A typical response is: "When everyone has had the opportunity to get fully vaccinated." But this may not be as simple as it sounds. It depends on whether an employee's essential job functions include in-person attendance, as in positions where work can only be done at the office. Also, companies that implement mandatory vaccination policies must be prepared to make exceptions for employees who cannot receive the vaccine because of a disability or religious beliefs.</p> <p>According to Beemer, "One reason to bring employees back to the office may be the company's compliance with wage and laws." Employers must pay their "nonexempt" employees (i.e., employees who are not exempt from the requirement to pay overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act) overtime for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Companies must pay overtime to a nonexempt employee even if the employee does not request permission to work overtime in accordance with company policy. Employers may find it easier to enforce their overtime policies when they can supervise employees working in the office rather than remotely.<p>Updated: Thu Apr 22, 2021</p> d7275defe9fe5bc19be64bcbc49d4a5d What Happens When the Worker Should Be the Boss? for 04/15/2021 Thu, 15 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: My boss is angry with me, and I did nothing wrong. To set the stage: I do far more than my boss because I have been in the business much longer than he has. In fact, I should have his job, but he was favored for the position because he is a male and I am a female. He relies on me for nearly everything, and every month I have to teach him another aspect of the job he doesn't know.</p> <p>I injured my knee on Thursday evening and went to the emergency room; I was given a hard plastic removable cast and told to work at home with my leg raised. I can easily complete all my work at home. I called my boss at home to tell him about my injury, and his response was that I must come into work because he is leaving the next day to take a week's vacation. Had I not called him, I would have found out about his absence the next day when I arrived at work. He literally gave me no notice. Regardless of how crazy this sounds, I could hear his anger in his voice, so I agreed to come in. <p>Updated: Thu Apr 15, 2021</p> f6efb0c1ef96cbf3c2f18dd14a5f8701 Your Values Dictate Your Courage for 04/08/2021 Thu, 08 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I accepted a respectable position with a company I expected to be reputable and intelligently managed. While management seemed to display both those characteristics, as I came to work more closely with certain managers, I discovered hierarchy flaws and less transparency than I liked. I heard about behaviors that were less than acceptable, but I didn't know whether I should say something. I don't want to be seen as a complainer, but I don't know where to draw the line on what I can say or do.</p> <p>A: Most people will not speak out because doing so takes courage. Generally, employees operate within a range of comfort and security regarding their freedom and decision-making ability at work, and sometimes, they sacrifice their freedom out of fear of management retaliation. This type of fear is what has prompted whistleblower advocacy groups and formal whistleblower organizations. <p>Updated: Thu Apr 08, 2021</p> c6482f065850dd441175141f3714a329 Use Talent for a Midlife Career Change for 04/01/2021 Thu, 01 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I am 50 and was the founder and sole worker of my own local business. When I decided to move out of state, I could have sold my client list to a competitor, but I had so much to do for the move across country that I just turned it over to someone I knew in the field. I am now settled into my new location where I am starting anew in everything &#8212; friends and a job &#8212; but I would like to try something new. </p> <p>I am not a licensed interior designer, but I have worked at high-end decor stores and have been told by many I have a talent in that field. I liked working on my own, and I got all my business through referrals. I'm friendly, but it's an energy-drainer to start another new venture that requires heavy networking in order to build a business. At this point in life, I don't want to go into a field where I have to get another degree and license to practice, and I don't want to force myself to be social for the sake of being successful. I figure I have about 20 years of energy in me to work. I know I would have been a good interior designer, but I think it's too late for that. I could do something in art, like painting again, but that is certainly not going to be a money-maker for me. How does someone decide what to do in midlife? <p>Updated: Thu Apr 01, 2021</p> b3d71d38f1eb4273f3427e52d8087cbb Bad Management Is No Easy Fix for 03/25/2021 Thu, 25 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I have been with this organization for over 25 years in an executive position, but I am not sure how to handle a personnel issue we have in another department. The company has been successful for many years, until recently when some of the key leadership positions changed personnel. The hierarchy now makes no sense. For example, vice presidents report to managers instead of the other way around. And that is just one of the small problems.</p> <p>The operations department is critical to the company's overall success. Four important employees there left in the last few months. All reported to the same manager, who in turn reported to the chief operating officer. The operations manager also just left, bringing the total to five employees who left due to stress from unrealistic workload demands. Another operations employee who is still there has not caught on to the job and runs to me with problems.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 25, 2021</p> ae1c842336a8fbda6a66045591997842 Hostile Work Environment: Intentional Infliction for 03/18/2021 Thu, 18 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>People have heard of and often use the term "hostile work environment" as if it were an easy condition to identify in a workplace. Many employees would like to think anything from ill-tempered conversation to harsh criticism could be considered a hostile work environment. While this type of behavior is unpleasant, and for many, it is hard to ignore, it does not usually meet the legal standards needed to become an actionable legal claim. In no way does that mean an employee was not and is not affected by rude, harshly authoritative and unprofessional behavior. It simply means that employees may not find the legal support for their claims.</p> <p>According to Jason Krellenstein, an attorney with The Boyd Law Group, most states also recognize a category of extreme and abusive conduct in the workplace based on a civil law model called "intentional infliction of emotional distress." This kind of hostile work environment need not involve attacks on a constitutionally protected class; that is, no discrimination need be present or alleged. Instead, it requires intentional or reckless, and entirely outrageous, conduct toward another employee. This is the rarest form of hostile work claims because the conduct must be so extreme, alarming, daunting, menacing, disturbing &#8212; and deliberate &#8212; as to adversely affect the victim's psyche. This is an extremely high, almost unattainable, threshold to pass. State laws acknowledge that workplaces may, without court regulation or interference, be difficult or stressful, disputatious, pressure-charged or unpleasant. Only purposefully or recklessly inflicted abusive behavior resulting in severe emotional damage will suffice under this legal theory. <p>Updated: Thu Mar 18, 2021</p> 3ed39f2d42858dc40632a3c2b8b28ac7 Clearing the Confusion of a Hostile Work Environment for 03/11/2021 Thu, 11 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Many employees think a workplace that is emotionally upsetting, verbally abusive or stress-inducing meets the legal requirements of a "hostile" work environment. According to Stephen Bourtin and Jason Krellenstein, attorneys with The Boyd Law Group, the requirements for a legally actionable "hostile work environment" set the bar much higher than simply working for a rude, demanding boss or among sniping, mannerless coworkers. "A common misconception is that there is a legal remedy for an unpleasant workplace. The reality is that the law will shield workers from discrimination, but it won't inoculate them from ugly or mean discourse."</p> <p>Federal employment discrimination statutes and the law of most states, including Connecticut, Texas and New York, suggest at least three different theories of actionable hostility. The most common originates from sexual discourse or behavior such as unwelcome sexual or vulgar comments, sexual advances, depictions of a sexual nature or physical contact of a sexual nature. The offensive conduct must be so harsh or pervasive that it adversely affects a term or condition of employment or impairs work performance. Often, if this kind of case is to survive in court, the employer may need to have been aware of the conduct and failed to take reasonable steps to address it. There can be exceptions, though, when recourse to correct the unwanted behavior is limited because the harasser occupies a preeminent position of power in the organization, such as the individual's direct supervisor or head of the company.</p> <p>A second form of hostile work environment involves the same type of activity &#8212; serious or pervasive hostility, intimidation or offensive conduct &#8212; but the sexual or gender-based component is replaced by offensive conduct targeting race, gender, religion, national origin, age, disability or other federally protected status. The offending behavior must be pervasive or intensely harsh and must materially affect some aspect of the employment relationship. If the harassment is caused by a co-worker rather than a supervisor, the employer's liability may be reduced if the organization acts promptly to investigate the accusation and take corrective action. The organization's liability may be entirely reduced if the organization had never been made aware of the problem until after the employee made the claim.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 11, 2021</p>