At Work from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Mon, 19 Apr 2021 01:13:02 -0700 At Work from Creators Syndicate 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> 78f73e9bbdd15afa9e77317bfd3a703d The Benefits of Emotional Maturity for 03/04/2021 Thu, 04 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Some children are influenced by their parents' conversations and know what they want to be when they grow up. Some make wild statements about their future from out of nowhere which miraculously come true. Others haven't a clue as to what work means to their parents and to themselves. They announce a list of professions that leave their parents shaking their heads over what inspired their kids to think such things: A 5-year-old boy wants to be a firefighter because his dad talked about how a brave firefighter saved the family from burning. A 10-year-old girl watches the Academy Awards with her parents and wants to be a movie star. A quiet, lonely child with bizarre parents turns to making jokes as a way to shield himself from feeling his family is odd and becomes a comedian.</p> <p>Children absorb far more than many parents acknowledge &#8212; both good and bad, subtle and obvious behavior. Everyone has, at one time or another, been subjected to the spoiled child (now a rude co-worker) whose parents never taught positive discipline and manners, or the child whose parents offered nothing but criticism (now the micromanager). But for all the poorly reared children who turn into the adults no one wants to work for, there are still emotionally mature and responsible kids whose parents imparted values, love and emotional support. <span class="column--highlighted-text">Here is an example of how successful a child can be with loving support and acceptance of who the child wants to be.</span><p>Updated: Thu Mar 04, 2021</p> 2b5b5db3516ff0e4cb6b24459fdf8cd0 College Not Needed for One's Success for 02/25/2021 Thu, 25 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Q: Since the pandemic began, many people have transitioned to working from home. I would love to be able to do this. I'm in my mid-40s with some college, no degree and no real marketable skills or talents, and the only work-from-home jobs I've found involve call centers. </p> <p>I worked at one once but had to quit after a few years because it was ruining my health and my marriage. The company did not allow time off for doctor appointments and illness, a leave of absence or a reduced work schedule when needed. <p>Updated: Thu Feb 25, 2021</p> 3a416cd8d70bdfa5eabf9aaf3833f18b Living at Home Limits Career Choices for 02/18/2021 Thu, 18 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Q: At 50, I sold my home to travel abroad to satisfy my wanderlust. After a couple of years, I had enough traveling and settled down in a new location in the country for the weather. I easily got a job in my field, so I did not check out the type of people in the area, the lifestyle or much of anything other than the job market. Within the first year, I realized this was not where I wanted to make a new home, but I stayed for a few more years to give it a chance. I never changed my mind about it, so I decided to temporarily move in with my parents and think about my next move. In the meantime, I got a job there.</p> <p>Their town does not have many companies with offices and job openings in my field. Also, the companies are very small and offer no benefits. On the flip side, I like living with my parents compared to living alone. I am torn over what to do.<p>Updated: Thu Feb 18, 2021</p> 48e6ff30be3c8f624fc4358b2cf38104 Living Lives With True Grit for 02/11/2021 Thu, 11 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p>We rarely hear about women (or men) who have made exceptional achievements in careers, perhaps because there are so few. We know both women and men can be highly intelligent, but more than intelligence enters into why some achieve unimaginable goals while most do not. Since intelligence is only one factor, perhaps it is due to the messages young girls receive growing up.</p> <p>Shannon Huffman Polson, after serving as one of the first women to fly the Apache helicopter in the U.S. Army and becoming an attack aviation leader for nearly a decade; earning her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and an MFA from Seattle Pacific University; working in the field at Guidant in cardiac rhythm management; and leading teams at Microsoft, wrote "The Grit Factor: Courage, Resilience, and Leadership in the Most Male-Dominated Organization in The World." Polson wanted to find other women with comparable achievements. Some of the inspiring women featured in "The Grit Factor" are: retired Maj. Gen. Dee McWilliams, who spent 29 years in the U.S. Army and commanded four companies and a training battalion; retired Lt. Col. Amy McGrath, the first woman to fly in the F/A-18 in combat in the Marines; retired Coast Guard Cmdr. Alda Siebrands, the first woman to complete the course from the all-male Army Special Forces and teach the Jumpmaster school; Lt. Angel Hughes, whose classmates were all graduates with engineering degrees from the Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force, became the only woman &#8212; and a woman of color &#8212; to become an aircraft commander for flying search-and-rescue missions; retired Cmdr. Karen Fine Brasch, who spent 29 years in the Navy; retired Maj. Heather Penney, an Air Force F-16 fighter pilot; Christine Callahan, the first female F-35 pilot; Sara Faulkner, a Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer who outperformed all other applicants; and retired Maj. Katie Higgins, the first woman to fly with the Blue Angels.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">These women had the grit to go above and beyond the requirements and compete in a male-dominated world, and according to Polson, grit can be learned.</span> Finding one's purpose &#8212; the why - and then connecting the head to the heart is critical for success. Finding the "why," or the "Five Whys" is a technique created by Taiichi Ohno, founder of the Toyota production system. (In today's society, where students choose careers based on the highest salary, a large portion of the population will likely never develop grit.) <p>Updated: Fri Feb 12, 2021</p> 34fd88540f0e33f2d064f8807abcc403 Copycat Behavior Is Not Flattery for 02/04/2021 Thu, 04 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Q: Imagine having a co-worker who sits next to you copying everything you wear. We are 35+ years old medical professionals who see the same patients. The difference between us is that she comes from a rural area and wants to fit into a more sophisticated background. It's fine with me that she wants to improve herself and feel more comfortable in her work environment. It is not OK that she has started duplicating everything about me. It's irritating and not flattering to have her buy everything I own, down to my sweaters, shoes and haircut from my hairstylist.</p> <p>What I've done over the past year is to stop sharing details of my things, but she already owns every piece of clothing I have, and we look like twins on most days. I love my job, but her clingy behavior is draining because I have to work with her daily. I've tried to maintain a distance, but she has become clingier. I think her behavior is toxic and intrusive even though I only see her at work. <p>Updated: Thu Feb 04, 2021</p> d2ba67d3ca20d5ee2a1cd05c8ad9c278 How To Fire Unwanted Business Partners for 01/28/2021 Thu, 28 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: I am not an assertive person, but I always wanted to create and run a business. I told a close friend about my idea; she liked it and wanted to do it with me. I don't know how it came to this, but two other friends liked the idea and also wanted to be part of it, so now we have four partners. I do almost all of the work. The first friend participates once a week, and only very little. The other two are not active but have good business connections, which I have not used yet. We make such a small amount each month that it really does not qualify as a business, but we still split it four ways. It's not even enough money to pay for a meal in a restaurant. </p> <p>I am busy with my children and family, as my husband is always working. I value my friends, so I don't know how to get out of this business situation. <span class="column--highlighted-text">I also don't like and am not good at communicating anything negative. I have always preferred letting things go by keeping quiet. I want to keep things positive. Is there a way to change this situation without alienating my friends?</span></p> <p>A: Here's the painful truth. You are in an unfortunate situation because you chose to remain passive instead of dealing with reality and taking personal responsibility for your choices. It may initially seem easier to walk away and ignore difficult conversations, but as you now see, you sacrificed choosing what would have made you happy by acquiescing to your friends' unreasonable requests. Some may like a "yes-person," but no one respects one. Your friends may enjoy being able to control you without much effort and avoid challenging and reasonable discussions, but it sounds like they may not be the type of friends anyone would or should want. <p>Updated: Thu Jan 28, 2021</p> 3b788f6917ab127ce613159b7279f11f How Old Is Too Old to Start Anew? for 01/21/2021 Thu, 21 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Q: I am in my mid-30s and have been a law firm paralegal for more than 10 years now. I have a bachelor's degree and a paralegal certificate, and I am thinking about going to law school. I am my sole supporter, so I am terrified about the prospect of student loans on top of the financial responsibility of paying my mortgage. I would need to get over that hurdle while maintaining my current full-time job. Is it too late to take the LSAT and apply to law school? </p> <p>A: Age is one small factor in considering law school at this point in your life. Since you are your sole supporter, you would have to obtain a loan for law school while working full time and paying your mortgage. This means you could only consider applying to law schools offering part-time programs. <p>Updated: Thu Jan 21, 2021</p> b3f6b75716b499e161f8f6a9c7a7c3d9 Manager Parties Too Much to Work for 01/14/2021 Thu, 14 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Q: I am part of a small medical team with a basic staff only; if one of the employees is sick, the others must temporarily take on that person's work. Prior to this, I worked in a large, professionally run practice, but I changed locations. </p> <p>We have an office manager who either 1) lacks professional experience or 2) lacks know-how. I understand employees in a small office must work together to help each other, but this manager has another agenda. She tries to get others to do work for which she is responsible; one of the medical professionals told me this manager had the nerve to ask her if she could help take on some of the manager's duties sometimes. She has no boundaries. <p>Updated: Thu Jan 14, 2021</p> 3cab81b91e62944b5903213c350f9e4d Career Change Planning at 40 for 01/07/2021 Thu, 07 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Q: I am married and nearing 40 years old, with one young child and a husband who lives to work. I have an undergraduate degree in accounting, but never went for a master's. I worked at a large financial firm until recently; the work is no longer interesting or enjoyable. I would like to work again, but absolutely not in accounting. I have the option of returning for a graduate degree; I was always a top student, so I thought it would be best to go back for a graduate degree. I just don't know what in.</p> <p>Accounting was practical, and I am good with numbers/math, but I am creative and no longer want to go into a field just because it is practical. My husband will not stand in my way of me pursuing a graduate degree in a new field, but he criticizes all fields that are not practical. We are very different types. I will choose what I want to do, so I am prepared for him not to like whatever it is. All of our friends have graduate degrees but me, so at least he is pro-education. <p>Updated: Thu Jan 07, 2021</p> 7494669a5a530d596644de72844a6ba9 New Job Changes too Soon After Hire for 12/31/2020 Thu, 31 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: I went through a formal interviewing process and accepted the job offer soon after. At the interview I was given a complete job description and told to read it carefully so if I were to be chosen for the job, the work and procedures would become second nature. I was fine with that, and studied it when I was hired. As I became more proficient in the job, only four to five months in, my tasks and responsibilities increased tenfold. </p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">I had taken the job and accepted the salary based on the type and amount of work. As it has changed, my salary has not.</span> I casually mentioned the situation to my boss, who said that would be considered at the yearend. (I would not have taken the job had I been told about the increased workload and changes in job duties. I didn't think a company could make changes that soon after hiring a person.</p> <p>It is the yearend now and not a word has been mentioned to me about a raise, a bonus, or a salary adjustment due to the changes. I've worked for nine months waiting to see what would happen, and I stopped my job search after accepting this job. Is it too soon to start another job search? How long do I have to wait before looking for another job? I don't necessarily want to leave, but I'm not pleased about the situation. I like the company and my co-workers. I just don't like being put off or lied to by my boss (assuming these tactics of false promises are intentional). The trouble is I don't know. We have our annual reviews according to our hire date, not the yearend, so I don't know why the boss said this. Can I remind her of her promise?<p>Updated: Thu Dec 31, 2020</p> 12c356337698310e9811d7d16db840f5 COVID-19 Is Only Part of the Problem for 12/24/2020 Thu, 24 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Facts surrounding a given situation form evidence, and evidence can simplify life. But who collects the unspoken truths and analyzes the circumstantial evidence &#8212; the information people think to be true but do not dare speak because the results will upset their acceptable life views? Everyone who calls a company is all too familiar with the current recorded message that begins every company's mantra: "Due to COVID-19, wait times may be longer than usual." Think of the public's awareness of COVID-19 when news of it hit the media. Generations living now might have learned about pandemics, but they are now experiencing living through one. </p> <p>Companies' recorded messages were prepared and replaced the previous ones, long before the many layoffs took place. It took some companies several months to announce and carry out the layoffs, but the recordings had already become standard messages to all who called. <p>Updated: Thu Dec 24, 2020</p> 989847edc8e7857197f570c1cbc5a2b8 Know Thyself: Credentials Are Your Protection for 12/17/2020 Thu, 17 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>At a time when people don't know who to listen to and who to trust, let credentials lead the way. Credentials establish a path of the past through a person's work history; education; and ability to do a job intelligently, efficiently and with integrity. Credentials are not just a piece of paper bearing a name and a graduation date. The certificate, diploma, bachelor's degree, master's degree and doctorate degree may mean much more than what you see on the surface. That piece of paper, depending on the institution issuing it, can also be meaningless.</p> <p>Numerous for-profit schools and trade schools of all kinds have appeared on the scene, but regardless of the names used by the schools, they are far from equal. This is where research into rankings is not only handy but required to understand the value of the school and what it will bring to one's marketability in the workplace. </p> <p>"THE World University Rankings, founded in 2004, provide the definitive list of the world's best universities, with an emphasis on the research mission." Data experts evaluate these world-class universities against 13 separate performance indicators, including teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. The list offers subject-specific rankings for more than 1,500 institutions. Nearly every school and its subjects have rankings. A person can search for best colleges, best college football, top national universities, national liberal arts colleges, regional universities, regional colleges, best MBA programs, best reputations and even best-value schools.<p>Updated: Thu Dec 17, 2020</p> fcffcb17e1a3a18da576d2d1d1933724 The Changing Workplace for 12/10/2020 Thu, 10 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>"I've actually been enjoying the isolation; that's my weird psychology," says Cynthia G. Cynthia, who had maintained an 8 a.m.-to-5 p.m., Monday-through-Friday routine for 20 years for a large company, had never entertained pursuing two part-time remote jobs and is now choosing to focus on her interests instead of her wallet. </p> <p>Most people can readily name every sad, frightening and tragic aspect to COVID-19, as today's population has never experienced working and living during a pandemic. There is another side to it, though, so unpopular or perhaps taboo no one speaks of it: <span class="column--highlighted-text">the opportunities and potential that can result from separation from life as people have known it.</span> But there is nothing weird about Cynthia's feelings or her personality type.</p> <p>The workplace seems to thrive on outgoing participants, but 25% to 40% of the population is introverts. Imagine living a life knowing that outgoing, assertive and even bubbly personalities can go to work and naturally enjoy the common cultures that companies create. Imagine working in an environment that outgoing employees happily embrace and introverted employees merely tolerate. They are surrounded by the pressure of people who love to converse and socialize. Compound that emotional pressure with having to perform all work tasks knowing that the extroverts win the praise, the kudos, the attention and often the rewards introverts are too quiet to fight for.<p>Updated: Thu Dec 10, 2020</p> f8b9e9f868dc10843cbe7b1cb955ea43 Is Your Career Your Life? for 12/03/2020 Thu, 03 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: I have been married for 30 years to the same man. He recently retired from the informational technology field; I have been a successful artist my entire life. I studied art in college and was able to sell my pieces from the very beginning. Art has provided us with an income, but it is more than that for me. It is who I am. My husband wants me to retire and travel with him. </p> <p>How do I explain to him that although we both have been successful, we are very different types of people who work in different types of fields, and that true artists don't retire? I can understand people wanting to retire from the business world, since most employees spend their lives working their way up, dealing with all sorts of personalities and demands, and have a lot to tolerate when it comes to interacting with others &#8212; co-workers, bosses, even subordinates. He's made a good living in IT, but when he had the chance to retire, he jumped at it. He is healthy and can find something &#8212; anything &#8212; else to do if he so chooses. IT is not his soul. Art is mine.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">The very thought of retiring from art is foreign to me. But how do I explain this him without sounding like I am belittling his career? He made a good income from it. It's just not something a person wants to do forever. </span><p>Updated: Thu Dec 03, 2020</p>