At Work from Creators Syndicate https://www.creators.com/read/at-work-lindsey-novak Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Wed, 19 Sep 2018 06:47:38 -0700 https://www.creators.com/ http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss At Work from Creators Syndicate https://cdn.creators.com/features/at-work-thumb.jpg https://www.creators.com/read/at-work-lindsey-novak b78763585fae5ae83f4e3e3056dd4a3d Clearing the Path for Good Employees for 09/13/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/at-work-lindsey-novak/09/18/clearing-the-path-for-good-employees Thu, 13 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Do you feel as if your job applications are falling into a black hole? Many job seekers share this frustration as they apply for jobs that don't seem to exist, responding to postings that read "new listing" but seem to be magically filled only a day later. They may have been true positions at one time, but everyone knows jobs don't get filled in a day or even in a week &#8212; not even in a digital society that speeds up the process.</p> <p>So what's the answer to the dilemma? Networking. Not the handing out of business cards to as many strangers as possible at a formal event, but making real connections with real people. This is not as easy as it sounds. <p>Updated: Thu Sep 13, 2018</p> d2e800b708965e8e268e5b60f6304b5b Separate Work from Personal Life for 09/06/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/at-work-lindsey-novak/09/18/separate-work-from-personal-life Thu, 06 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: Sometimes I receive mail at work that is personally addressed to me, not to the company. The office manager opens all the mail regardless of to whom it is addressed. Once opened, the mail is delivered to the addressee on the envelope. I don't want her seeing my personal mail. </p> <p>When I questioned her, she said she could open any mail or package that is addressed to the company, regardless of the employee named on the envelope. There are some types of mail I'd rather receive at work, but I don't want anyone other than me opening them.<p>Updated: Thu Sep 06, 2018</p> 6a75acd4fe260dbc612dd23845cb7901 Avoiding Arrogant Co-Worker May Be the Answer for 08/30/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/at-work-lindsey-novak/08/18/avoiding-arrogant-co-worker-may-be-the-answer Thu, 30 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I can't be too detailed for fear of the person recognizing the situation. We are a group of professionals (I'll call us consultants) who work out of the same office but each of us has different clients. I assume we are all equally as competent, but one woman in our group is painfully arrogant. For example, if any of us casually ask her a question, she answers us in a tone that conveys she thinks we are stupid. </p> <p>Also, she is dreadfully boring and always over-describes everything and gets offended if we engage in what anyone else would call normal conversation (she demands solid attention while she lectures us). Imagine a carpenter who feels the need to describe every nail he hammers into each piece of wood &#8212; how he chooses the nails, how he determines the pressure in hammering the nail &#8212; and then wants to describe the grain of each piece of wood. <p>Updated: Thu Aug 30, 2018</p> 8e3d360c25a4e02625f5654971120cd8 Bad Interview is Legal, but Unprofessional for 08/23/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/at-work-lindsey-novak/08/18/bad-interview-is-legal-but-unprofessional Thu, 23 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I recently had a phone interview where the interviewer (who would have been my boss) was so unprofessional I didn't know how to respond. She was rude, sarcastic, insulting, and inappropriate. She was the one who chose to interview me after seeing my resume, so I question her motive after seeing her behavior. Maybe in speaking to me she became jealous and feared me taking her job since my educational and work experience is impressive. </p> <p>First, she asked me what courses I had taken. When I named some of them and asked for detail, she wasn't able to answer. She then insulted the company I had worked at for 10 years, and laughed sarcastically about it going down the tube. She criticized my experience there, commenting on the company's reputation as if I had worked at a used car lot where everyone was unethical. I was so angry I felt I had to defend the company, telling her it was a good company the entire time I worked there, and that the company was brought down financially because of a lawsuit it lost. Her tone was haughty and arrogant, and with every comment, I justified my professional experience. <p>Updated: Thu Aug 23, 2018</p> 60c8bee3205ef633f27f5526940bcb32 Tough Talks With Boss Must Be Made for 08/16/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/at-work-lindsey-novak/08/18/tough-talks-with-boss-must-be-made Thu, 16 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I returned to a full-time professional job after working as an independent contractor for the last 20 years. The owner, who has turned out to be a micromanager, and I am not accustomed to working in this type of environment. His micromanaging has made me nervous, and I've been making small mistakes in calculating figures for blueprints. The owner proofs the work and makes snide comments with each error he catches. </p> <p>I need the job but hate the environment. I don't know how or if I should approach the owner to explain why I have been making mistakes. <p>Updated: Thu Aug 16, 2018</p> bfe3280bbef6a992db2c3a7609de6958 Sharing Gossip in an Interview Won't Get You The Job for 08/09/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/at-work-lindsey-novak/08/18/sharing-gossip-in-an-interview-wont-get-you-the-job Thu, 09 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: Many people apply the word narcissist to people who are actually just self-centered, but I work for a real narcissist in his dentist practice. Many people are self-centered because they always put themselves first, but they are not out to harm others. The doctor I work for is led by his arrogance. He treats all his patients like idiots and doesn't explain any part of their procedures to them because he says he is the expert and they are the public and too stupid to know what they need. He criticizes his patients when they ask questions or explain what they think the problem might be. I have heard him sarcastically answer patients with, "Are you a dentist?" Or, "And how long have you practiced dentistry?" No intelligent person would accept such verbal abuse, so they know better than to return to him. Patients who do return have no dignity or self-esteem, so this proves to him that all patients are stupid. He also charges for little things he didn't do, but people must not look closely at the bills or question the individual charges.</p> <p>As an assistant in the room with patients, I see the smart ones roll their eyes at him, and I have seen people leave the office in disgust. You can imagine how he treats his staff if this is how he treats patients. Unfortunately, patients who never return don't file complaints against him on Yelp, which would help protect unsuspecting people from becoming his victims. I would like to privately ask them to review him on Yelp, but if he overheard me, he would do more than just fire me; his vindictive side would come out.<p>Updated: Thu Aug 09, 2018</p> 4bdbd4f7005a0bb2b11e439febb4ebd5 Superior Deserves to be Fired for 08/02/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/at-work-lindsey-novak/08/18/superior-deserves-to-be-fired Thu, 02 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I was very excited to get a job in the IT department at a top university. When I started, I was placed in a group under a supervisor who had worked there for about two years, but I had not met him during the interviewing process. When I was introduced to him, he didn't say a word. Not even a "welcome" or "hello." He has turned out to be the worst person anyone could work for.</p> <p>He assigns each employee his or her own projects, so we work individually. I know my field well, but we all have questions periodically and this supervisor hands over work without instructions. He offers nothing other than to give us the result he wants. </p> <p>The first time I had questions, I texted him. He never responded. I then emailed him. Again, he didn't respond. All the techs work in a huge room with no separators, so the supervisor walks around to talk to individuals. I needed my questions answered so I could continue working, so I approached him while he was talking to one of my co-workers. <p>Updated: Thu Aug 02, 2018</p> 61f00e572ccc5388ae885614a9115a12 Her Attitude Brings the Office Down for 07/26/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/at-work-lindsey-novak/07/18/her-attitude-brings-the-office-down Thu, 26 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I recently started working at a small firm made up of sales and construction professionals. Only the president has an office; everyone else works in an open room. We don't even have movable wall panels for privacy, but I think all employees should know better than to hang around others' desks, listening to their conversations. </p> <p>The owner of the company stopped by my desk to discuss the work done on a project, so when he spoke to me, I spontaneously expressed some of my thoughts on it. The conversation should have taken place in his private office, but I had to respond on the spot to his comments. </p> <p>His secretary/administrative assistant whose desk is not anywhere near my workspace had passed by and stopped about 5 feet behind me, proceeding to stare and eavesdrop on our conversation. When I asked her a necessary question, she refused to answer and instead commented that things are difficult because "Mercury is in retrograde." Most recently she nastily referred to me as "him" when talking to the boss while standing near me. Her openly rude responses everyday suggest to me she has a serious personality problem. She has never been friendly, not even in our introduction, she goes out of her way to not be helpful, she is always sarcastic when she does speak and she often flat out ignores any comment or request. Her permanent mood is dour. <p>Updated: Thu Jul 26, 2018</p> ff46112678b5bb68b48f31bb749940ae Overqualified? Who Gets Hired and Why for 07/19/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/at-work-lindsey-novak/07/18/overqualified-who-gets-hired-and-why Thu, 19 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: We have been looking to hire a professional with experience in certain areas. So far, we have received resumes from candidates who are either overqualified or underqualified, but nobody has the exact experience needed that does not require training. We are a busy firm that needs employees who are able to step into the job and function independently once instructions are given. </p> <p>A: Job candidates are always hopeful that, although they lack the exact experience, something in their resumes will catch some attention among those hiring. What they do not realize is that the hiring manager may not be the person directly receiving the resumes, and that resumes are being sifted through by a human resource professional who has been given the exact job requirements. Once resumes are weeded out, qualifying candidates' resumes are forwarded to those hiring managers. Company owners and department heads who ask to receive resumes have the time-consuming task of reviewing them regardless of how appropriate they are for the job advertised. HR professionals are trained to find exact or close matches to the job.</p> <p>Dr. Valeria Stokes, CEO and human resource consultant of her firm Stokes Consulting, says, "Looking at whether or not someone has too much experience is a backdoor way to discriminate against a certain generation of potential employees. The hiring manager expects talent and HR should align the hire process with the attributes of the job to present candidates who have the right skill sets and are right for the role. The HR person does not manage the operations of the hiring manager; only the hiring manager knows what specific attributes are needed based on the competency-driven job description. It is not the HR recruiter's responsibility to determine whether an individual is a serious choice, as long as they have depth of experience regarding that type of job. <p>Updated: Thu Jul 19, 2018</p> 00ee2ee18c1321879129d05bc645635f The Millennial Life Everyone Wants for 07/12/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/at-work-lindsey-novak/07/18/the-millennial-life-everyone-wants Thu, 12 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Numerous articles point to the many cautions of hiring millennials. Well, here's an opposing view from a Baby Boomer who has worked with and befriended many of those millennials. Perhaps the corporate world sees millennials as a challenge because they dare to live according to their values by following their dreams for a blended work and lifestyle existence free from stress, and live the types of lives baby boomers yearned for but lacked the courage to attain during their working years. If you are ready and willing to see millennials in a positive light, here are some major contributions they have made to the world of work.</p> <p>Millennials are free spirits who want to enjoy life, not because they are wild or lazy or pure pleasure seekers, but because they have seen and heard the ongoing complaints about restrictive jobs with limited options and growth, and orders passed down from heavy-handed, micromanaging bosses. They have experienced workplaces with deep-seated competitiveness that pitted them against their co-workers and felt the occasional stab in the back from those above who think they have not yet paid their dues to get where they want to be. </p> <p>Companies have thrown a bone to these youthful workers by offering so-called flextime, which amounts to a day at home to work, as long as they stay in touch to confirm they are working. They have heard and read about the health problems the older generations of workers have suffered, and they are silently screaming, "Not me," and running in the opposite direction. But the direction is not away from working; it is toward working for oneself. A couple of years reporting to a job in a rigid environment loaded with rules designed for the sake of control is enough to motivate anyone to strike out on one's own. The greatest generational difference among millennials and all others is that they are daring enough to prove to all that freedom at work is the answer to all oppression.<p>Updated: Thu Jul 12, 2018</p> 2f922e1b67407a436bca2dcc946f3ab3 Forget The Why For Crazy Behavior, Just Get To Safety for 07/05/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/at-work-lindsey-novak/07/18/forget-the-why-for-crazy-behavior-just-get-to-safety Thu, 05 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I sometimes meet with clients in a nearby library conference room, an open main floor area with free Wi-Fi, tables and chairs for meetings, university common areas, etc. I recently met with a client; it was clear we were working on a computer together discussing business in low voices, privately in a corner of the very large room. </p> <p>A woman sat down in an area near us, but not close enough for listening and talking. She oddly moved very close, turned around to stare at us, and periodically interrupted us. My client and I became very uncomfortable; it was obvious to us this woman had no sense of boundaries.</p> <p>She was in a grouping of chairs and tables not facing us, but she sat backwards, turning around to face us, staring and interrupting us throughout our meeting. We were deep in our conversation and did not want to move, but this woman did not stop. She aggressively interrupted us to ask personal, inappropriate and intrusive questions. She definitely had some sort of mental problem or personality disorder. <p>Updated: Thu Jul 05, 2018</p> 30fe63c8ebfba6548331313ecca83a02 New Career Choice Needs Respect for 06/28/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/at-work-lindsey-novak/06/18/new-career-choice-needs-respect Thu, 28 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I am a cuddle professional, also known as a cuddlist. The field was born out of the need for affection in a society that is suffering from chronic social isolation, touch deprivation and interpreting all touch as sexual. We acknowledge the need for food, water and rest, but affection is as important.</p> <p>The problem is that many people are not familiar with this profession and I receive calls for appointments from people who don't know it's a serious profession that has nothing to do with sex, sexuality and sensuality. That is not allowed in the profession and there are many rules, but I seem to have to continually educate people. I use my apartment as my office because it can be expensive to rent a place for professional use. How do I convince people that cuddlists are serious professionals who have to go through training and testing? I'd like people to understand that lack of affection is a serous need and not something to be taken lightly.</p> <p>A: It sounds like the comedian Rodney Dangerfield's lament, "I don't get no respect." But seriously, when a new soft-skill field is developed, the creators of such fields must offer constant information to the public, making them aware of the profession's purpose and goals. You are correct that the lack of affection can be the precursor to many emotional and physical illnesses. According to Kory Floyd, Ph.D., Psychology Today, more Americans live alone than ever before. Loneliness among American adults has increased 16 percent in the last 10 years, 3 out of 4 adults agree with the statement that "Americans suffer from skin hunger." Also, the lack of affection can result in a person feeling less happy, more lonely, more likely to experience depression and stress and in general, are in worse health than happy people. <p>Updated: Thu Jun 28, 2018</p> c421a988ba148e15e9ce0ac79e9ea499 Don't Reveal Your Health Issues In Interview for 06/21/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/at-work-lindsey-novak/06/18/dont-reveal-your-health-issues-in-interview Thu, 21 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I worked in a tension-filled job for several years before the stress to got me. At first, I had trouble getting myself to go to work; eventually I needed to be hospitalized, and my leave of absence turned into a year off. After rest and therapy, I am able to return to work. My former employer said I could use them as a reference, so I applied to jobs and was successful in getting interviews. Once in the interviews, everyone asked me why I took that much time off. I told them about my hospitalization. I thought it was best to be honest and not hide my past. Was I wrong!</p> <p>The minute I was truthful, more questions shot out about how do I know I am ready to work again, and what makes me think it won't happen again. Again, I was honest and said the obvious &#8212; "There are no guarantees in life, but I feel as good as I did before succumbing to stress. I learned ways to handle stress that I hadn't known before." </p> <p>My answer was realistic and reasonable. I thought the interviewers would value a person's honesty, but I was never called in for second interviews. Apparently, companies don't value an honest approach. What should I have said? <p>Updated: Thu Jun 21, 2018</p> 157f105f0850010c8664ebdd0950717a Me Thinks He Doth Protest Too Much for 06/14/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/at-work-lindsey-novak/06/18/me-thinks-he-doth-protest-too-much Thu, 14 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: The problem is that I do not know what I want to do when I grow up. I have been in recruiting for 17 years and feel burned out. This has caused my family situation to be challenging for me. Five years ago my wonderful wife was laid off from her job and gave birth to our second child. She took that time to find out what she wanted to do and created a personal training/group exercise/yoga business. She is an independent contractor, thus, no benefits. She does well for herself, but not well enough for us to live off her income. I am responsible for about 70 percent of our support, 80 percent of our retirement and 100 percent of the benefits.</p> <p>I was recently laid off and given 30 days to stay with the company and transition my work to a variety of leaders. During that time, I quickly found a job that I am four months into. I wish I would have taken more time for me, but since I was not sure of what I wanted to do, I stayed in my field and accepted a good paying job at a great company with great benefits.</p> <p>Unfortunately, I feel more stressed than ever. Since all my experience is one industry, it's a struggle to get out and do anything else. I am at a crossroads. My wife is fully supportive of what I want to do next, but I am responsible for the benefits for my family of four; I am confused and not sure where to turn.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 14, 2018</p> 35a86121a1442f3c933982d985470e3d Don't Blame Everything on Age Discrimination for 06/07/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/at-work-lindsey-novak/06/18/dont-blame-everything-on-age-discrimination Thu, 07 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I now regret retiring at 66. I am too active and motivated for this lazy lifestyle and I need the additional income. I am single, never married, and have no children or family, so days can be boring. I have had several successful careers with two of the major car manufacturers. I am in sales and spent the majority of my time traveling. I am in excellent health, outperform many of my younger colleges at the gym, and don't look anywhere near my age. I also have no employment gaps on my resume. </p> <p>My resume highlights my accomplishments and many references to vouch for my work record, yet I can't get a second interview or face-to-face meeting. I have tried to erase anything on the Internet that may give away my age and I have removed dates of schools attended and military record. Many positions I have applied to continue to recruit, even though my resume is very similar to the job. I can't be the only person facing this realm of silent age discrimination. </p> <p>Companies complain about the unmotivated workforce today. How can they be convinced the answer to growth in sales and profits might be to hire mature experience instead of younger generations. I have told several employers I don't want a high salary but instead the opportunity to make a lot in commissions and bonus.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 07, 2018</p> 5b4b68514db6a92046a52b746725de42 Criticism -- Keeping it Kind for 05/31/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/at-work-lindsey-novak/05/18/criticism-keeping-it-kind Thu, 31 May 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I am in a group of professionals of the same job title, but we work independently until the last step where our written report is reviewed with a colleague for corrections and comments. The report is then turned over to the boss. </p> <p>Our work requires combined innate abilities and learned skills, which causes some of us to perform a much higher level than others. We cannot choose the colleague we want for the review; our boss assigns it to who is available at that time. This step is an important review where the colleague is to correct hardcore errors and make overall suggestions. That is where one's performance level comes into play. </p> <p>There's a difference between noting clear mistakes and offering suggestions. I think we should consider all constructive criticism, but the content in the final report is up to each professional. If I had been in charge of hiring, there is a colleague I would not have hired. I don't want this person reviewing my work because I see him/her as no help at all. The final review takes about two days, which means it is a total waste of time when this person receives my work for feedback. <p>Updated: Thu May 31, 2018</p> 11e655cf69d2310c06e64f2bbd7e4db7 Repress Your Anger or Quit Now for 05/24/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/at-work-lindsey-novak/05/18/repress-your-anger-or-quit-now Thu, 24 May 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I am at an impasse about how I feel about my boss, and I am afraid I will say something I will regret and storm off the job in anger. I need this job until my passion job becomes the success and I need and want. I like my job, but my boss ruins it, not just for me, but also for all staff under her. I have never known anyone who is hated as much as she is.</p> <p>I take a peaceful approach to life and rarely complain about anything. I've worked here for several years and I can no longer tolerate it. She is critical, controlling, and publicly insulting to all. She treats the staff like robots and loudly argues with her boss, but doesn't get fired. I don't know why I hadn't recognized the environment as abusive, but now that I do, I'm angry for staying. </p> <p>She criticizes everyone, typically for nonsense reasons. She is known for using one particular word to describe her disgust with everyone. When she directly accuses me, I now snap back. That is not who I am, but my anger has now been awakened. Recently she yelled at me for not going to an office supply store in person rather than ordering from the online store because the item was on sale at the store. It didn't occur to her that sending me there costs money that negates the sale price benefit. <p>Updated: Thu May 24, 2018</p> 5c0620dfd3053d620017f472a0a5bb05 My First Sales Job for 05/17/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/at-work-lindsey-novak/05/18/my-first-sales-job Thu, 17 May 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: My first job in sales requires me to make cold calls to small companies, so I usually meet the receptionist first, hoping to get in to see the person in charge of purchasing. I took the job because I'm not afraid of working on commission, and I thought it would be good training for eventually getting a higher-level sales job. I know sales people can do well financially, especially if they have good social skills; I just don't know what field I want to end up in, so this is a good place to start. I talked my way into the job, convincing the company that they had nothing to lose in hiring me since it's a straight commission job.</p> <p>What I'm not sure about is how to approach receptionists. I've always been confident, friendly, easy to talk to and a good communicator. I'm good at explaining things, but I don't know how much or how little to tell someone for me to get into the buyer. Some receptionists seem to have control of things while others have none or are not interested in anything you have to say. Is there a "best" approach to a person in this position?</p> <p>A: Receptionists have different levels of responsibilities and tasks, so treat each one as an individual, rather than as a certain group type that is going to respond to you the same way. You may have a dynamic product or service, but if you turn off the receptionist, you may never get a chance to sell it to the person you need to see. A receptionist can influence the person in charge with information that either makes you seem knowledgeable and polite or makes you sound like the biggest jerk out there. <p>Updated: Thu May 17, 2018</p> 229deafc66c652a4d3eac561dae48a56 The Favor That Bit Back for 05/10/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/at-work-lindsey-novak/05/18/the-favor-that-bit-back Thu, 10 May 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I returned for a master's degree in a new field, requiring an unpaid internship. This seems more common these days, creating great competition to get a good one. I have a friend in the field who offered her help, so I followed all the application rules and thought she would just write a recommendation for me. I did not expect anything extra; I had high grades throughout my bachelor's and both master's degrees, so I think I would have gotten in on my own accord anyway.</p> <p>When I reported in on my first day of work, I was greeted with a growl, so-to-speak, because the lead manager of the interns had not been included in the process. I had no idea my friend would have used a heavy hand to get me in; all I wanted was a recommendation, not an order to accept me. </p> <p>I am caught in an impossible situation. I don't want to say anything to my friend that might make her think I am not grateful, regardless of what she did to get me in. I also can't tell the head I had no knowledge of what she did, because that may start an internal battle between the two of them. I moved out-of-state for this internship, so I am here and have to deal with this. I feel like a victim of favoritism when I had nothing to do with it. How do I resolve this?<p>Updated: Thu May 10, 2018</p> 42364cac8c32fa97b3ac0eb638b3720c Befriending Management for 05/03/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/at-work-lindsey-novak/05/18/befriending-management Thu, 03 May 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I've always been a dedicated employee, no matter where I've worked or what my job was. I like working independently, but I also like working on a team. I have "carried" a team member when they has told me they are going through a difficult time; I do this because I want co-workers to be there for me if I happen to experience being in that same type of position. I honestly have never felt jealous of anyone. </p> <p>I have encountered a situation now where one of the bosses seems to favor me by giving me the interesting assignments. I wasn't aware of it, but a co-worker was and said something to me. I'm a woman, this co-worker is a man, and we are the same age. I was taken aback when he mentioned it to me. I never thought he was watching and adding up project by project. It seems crazy to me, as I have never cared about what others do at work. I focus on my own performance and that's all. I don't even talk about my projects to others like some co-workers, always comparing themselves to each other. I have no interest in that.<p>Updated: Thu May 03, 2018</p>