October 2006

Happy Halloween!

by Evil HR Lady on October 31, 2006

Halloween is one of the best days of the years. Let’s face it–it’s a holiday that is about candy. What is there not to love?

There are no family obligations. No presents for picky relatives. (Not that any of my relatives are picky–especially the ones who read this blog. Love ya!) You buy a couple of pumpkins, carve ’em up and throw them on the front porch. Then you buy more candy than you should and you hand it out to adorably dressed children. (I don’t much care for the 16 year olds that put on one of their dad’s ties and show up at 9:30, with not so much as a word–just an outstretched hand.)

And that’s it! That’s Halloween.


UPDATE: I just found this article about teens who trick-or-treat. Seems I’m not the only one who is annoyed.



by Evil HR Lady on October 30, 2006

The Carnival of the Insanities is up over at Dr. Sanity. There are great posts and a link to 5000 Years of Middle East History in 90 seconds. Talk about cool.


And You Think Your Job Requries A Lot of You

by Evil HR Lady on October 29, 2006

You honestly could not pay me enough money to do this.

(Via Ann Althouse)


A Job For Those Who Don’t Want to be Wealthy

by Evil HR Lady on October 26, 2006

Dancer. That’s right, according to this Bankrate article” the wealthy dancer is an oxymoron.

“The vast majority of dancers cannot make a living off of dancing alone as a performer,” says John Munger, director of research and information for Dance/USA, an American dance service organization. “I believe less than 3,000 actually do in the entire nation.”

So why do all my friends make huge sacrifices to get develop their daughters’ dancing skills? I’m not talking about dance class once a week. (I’m in favor of that–it’s good exercise.) I’m talking about 4 hours of class a day. Putting dance ahead of homework.

I wonder if they know the expected payoff? I think not.


Why I Don’t Live in an Apartment

by Evil HR Lady on October 24, 2006

NYC apartment woes.

Enough said.

UPDATE: For SheSaid who doesn’t wish to register with the NY Times. (I have a hotmail address that I use for all such registration.) Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“One night, the sound was so horrendous I went up and knocked on the door for the first time,” said Ms. Bielfield, a retired publishing and marketing executive in her 70’s. “She opened the door and in the background I could see this youngster”— the neighbor’s 5- or 6-year-old grandson — “jumping up and down on a trampoline. With no carpet underneath. She said, ‘I’ll do whatever I want’ and slammed the door in my face.”

One downstairs neighbor, an elderly woman, grew irate when the 5- and 10-year-old boys upstairs bounced balls. “She would complain to the doorman, the super, the managing agent,” said Jennifer Roberts, a senior vice president at Bellmarc who had sold the boys’ parents their three-bedroom apartment in the East 70’s. “One day, she came upstairs when the mother wasn’t home, and she took the ball and hit the kid.”

But if noisy toys and boys are torture, one could argue that three 200-pound teenagers wearing cleats and playing football overhead at 11 p.m. is more on the order of hell itself.

Then, there were the mandatory “team meetings” organized every few weeks in the younger women’s living room. The object was to “tear apart every problem, but she would focus on things like dirty dishes in the sink, that we had too many plants and too much furniture, causing damage to the ceiling below our apartment. And whenever we would bring up any problems with the lack of heat”—at times the temperature dropped to 50 degrees in the winter —“or the freezer, she would say, ‘That’s not my problem.’ Anytime you would challenge her on something, she would say, ‘I’m not going to renew your lease.’ ”

After reading the article again, I’m extra pleased with my decision.


Why You Shouldn’t Lie

by Evil HR Lady on October 24, 2006

We had a discussion on lying a while back. My position is that lying is never appropriate. I bet Eric Poehlman wishes he had listened to me. From the New York Times Magazine:

Poehlman pleaded guilty to lying on a federal grant application and admitted to fabricating more than a decade’s worth of scientific data on obesity, menopause and aging, much of it while conducting clinical research as a tenured faculty member at the University of Vermont. He presented fraudulent data in lectures and in published papers, and he used this data to obtain millions of dollars in federal grants from the National Institutes of Health — a crime subject to as many as five years in federal prison.

One of his lab techs turned him in, rightfully so. Fascinating article.


How Do You Get To Carnegie Hall?

by Evil HR Lady on October 23, 2006

Apparently the same way you get to be CEO–practice. Fortune reports

For one thing, you do not possess a natural gift for a certain job, because targeted natural gifts don’t exist. (Sorry, Warren.) You are not a born CEO or investor or chess grandmaster. You will achieve greatness only through an enormous amount of hard work over many years. And not just any hard work, but work of a particular type that’s demanding and painful.

Well, that’s a cheery thought for Monday morning. Demanding and painful work ahead! Actually, it can be cheery. It means if you want success you can achieve it, despite your lack of natural talent.

Of coure, I don’t know how the author can state that “targeted natural gifts” don’t exist. Of course they do. Some people are born being able to carry a tune and some are not. Granted, even the natural singer needs to practice, practice, practice in order to be successful. I, for instance, love public speaking. (I know, I know, I’m a complete whack.) That’s definitely an inborn trait.

But, if I wanted to make a living at it, I’d definitely have to develop that talent.

So, read the whole article and get busy doing painful practice.


Evil Hr Lady Gets Religious

by Evil HR Lady on October 20, 2006

Okay, truth be told I’m already religious. But I’m not a Southern Baptist. I make no attempt to understand the finer points of Southern Baptist Theology. Still, I found this article, Texas Seminary: No Speaking in Tongues interesting–from an HR point of view.

It seems the trustees voted and, with one dissenting vote, they made the following declaration:

Southwestern will not knowingly endorse in any way, advertise, or commend the conclusions of the contemporary charismatic movement including private prayer language. Neither will Southwestern knowingly employ professors or administrators who promote such practices.

I support the right of any religious body–be it a school or a church–to set the standards for their curriculum and staff. I just wonder how you are going to enforce this.

The dissenter wants the Southern Baptist Convention to weigh in on the matter, which (I infer) means that the SBC doesn’t have an official position on the doctrine of speaking in tongues. It also suggests to me that leadership isn’t quite unified on this.

Any time there is change in an institution (be it religious or secular) you need unity from the leadership for effective change. I’ve seen numerous times where some corporate big-wig announces, “Our new policy is X” but meanwhile his executive team is going about undermining him. The end result is a more divisive workforce.

You need unity at the top for big change. (Although I admit, I don’t know how big of a change this is. Was it happening often? I have no idea.) If this Southern Baptist Seminary had come to me for advice, I would have told them to get the SBC to weigh in first, then create it’s new policy and get full support prior to announcing. If you can’t get full support, well, that’s why you “transition” people out of your organization.

It seems harsh, especially for a religious group, but successful companies do it all the time. Granted, if this isn’t a major component of the school, it may not matter. But, someone thought it was major enough to alert a reporter at the Associated Press–and the Washington Post saw fit to publish it.

But overall, HR Advice, get your unity first.


Body Art

by Evil HR Lady on October 19, 2006

Tattoos are becoming more prevalent. Which brings up the question, what do employees do about that? Do they refuse to hire people with tattos? Do they require they be covered? Categorize them as acceptable and unacceptable? (Flowers and hearts, okay. Knives plunging through skulls, not okay.)

The Associated Press examines the issue. Some quotes:

The face of the young American worker is changing, and it’s increasingly decorated with ink and metal. About half of people in their 20s have either a tattoo or a body piercing other than traditional earrings, according to a study published in June in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. That figure, which is higher than the national average, is growing, said Anne Laumann, the study’s co-author and a dermatologist at Northwestern University.

Personally, the thought of voluntarily having someone jab a needle into my skin a thousand times is enough to keep me away from tattoos forever. That and as you “mature” you tend to sag. (One of my college roommates had an eagle on her stomach. She’s since had 4 children. I cannot even imagine what that thing must look like now. Surprisingly, she doesn’t send out pictures of it in her annual Christmas card.)

For some companies, allowing body art can be a boon – it attracts young workers that may not feel welcome in more conservative environments, said Paul Forster, CEO of the job search Web site Indeed.com (which shows that postings for tattoo artist have surged in the past year). Forster allows body art in the office, and about a quarter of his 25 employees have it.

What do you all think?


How Often Should You Lie?

by Evil HR Lady on October 17, 2006

The only acceptable lie is when your Aunt Grace* asked if you enjoyed her special dish at the family reunion. Other than that, never.

  • Don’t lie on your resume.
  • Don’t lie in an interview.
  • Don’t lie in your performance review.
  • Don’t lie about why you need a day off. (You don’t necessarily have to say why you need a day off, but don’t say, “my grandmother is sick” when you really have a job interview. It’s perfectly acceptable to say, “for personal reasons.”)
  • Don’t lie about why you left your last job.
  • Don’t lie about your gaps in employment.
  • Don’t lie about your salary, your qualifications, your workload or anything else.
  • Hopefully, I’ve cleared up any confusion.

    No lying.

    *If your Aunt is named something other than “Grace” you can’t lie, ever.