February 2007

Delta, Delta, Delta, Can I Help Ya, Help Ya, Help Ya?

by Evil HR Lady on February 28, 2007

You would think that with my naturally sunny disposition and tendency towards fashion perfection that I would have been in a sorority in college. Alas, you would be wrong. I actually attended a university that did not allow them, but even if they were allowed, I would never have joined one. Not my thing.

First, let me say that I believe in freedom of association and that you should be able to choose your own friends–and therefore choose who to exclude. I believe (perhaps incorrectly) that sororities (and fraternities) are technically social organization and can make there own rules. Discriminating on the basis of race is still probably illegal, but I don’t know. I’m not, after all, a lawyer. (Perhaps my lawyer brother would like to comment.)

However, blatant and stupid discrimination and forcing out people is wrong, wrong, and wrong. Delta Zeta should be ashamed of themselves.

Worried that a negative stereotype of the sorority was contributing to a decline in membership that had left its Greek-columned house here half empty, Delta Zeta’s national officers interviewed 35 DePauw members in November, quizzing them about their dedication to recruitment. They judged 23 of the women insufficiently committed and later told them to vacate the sorority house.

The 23 members included every woman who was overweight. They also included the only black, Korean and Vietnamese members. The dozen students allowed to stay were slender and popular with fraternity men — conventionally pretty women the sorority hoped could attract new recruits. Six of the 12 were so infuriated they quit.

I love the six that were “allowed” to stay that quit. I would probably not be friends anymore with the six who stayed.

In business, when we hire people we want people with the necessary skills but who also “fit” into the department. Companies have “personalities” and cultures and some people don’t fit. For instance, someone who is very laid back would not “fit” on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange. The poor person, regardless of how smart he was, would not survive. Better not to hire him in the first place.

The problem the Delta Zeta sorority made was determining “fit” based on race and body size. See Evil HR Lady bang her head against the wall.

The scary thing is, I’m afraid this will “work” and the Sorority will attract the skinny, mean, drunken bimbos that are stereotypes of what a Sorority should be.

I’ve I was a Deta Zeta alumnae, I’d probably be taking that off my resume right about now.


Carnival Reminder

by Evil HR Lady on February 28, 2007

Hey, you HR Types, remember, in one week our 2nd Carnival of Human Resources will be occurring! This is a great way to spread the news about the wonderful world of HR and get yourself some hits.

Submit your favorite post to evilhrlady at hotmail dot com and you will be able to join in the party!


I Think, Therefore I Am

by Evil HR Lady on February 28, 2007

Dean Dad over at Confessions of a Community College Dean named me as one of the bloggers that makes him think. I’m so pleased. Thinking is good–after all, think how much better your company would be if the people in charge actually did some of that from time to time? Truth be told, he makes me think. My original career goal was academia, so the inner workings of higher ed is fascinating to me as well.

I read more blogs than I should, so limiting it to 5 is difficult and I just can’t do it. Instead I’m going to do 6. I’m such a rebel.

RedKudu. She’s a high school English teacher who I pray gets to teach my children some day. Since she’s in Texas and I’m on the East Coast, it’s doubtful this will happen, but I still have my dreams. In addition to describing some of her lesson plans, she talks about teaching, her hilarious students, educational controversies and her adventures in customer service. A day isn’t complete without a hop over to Red Kudu.

Daryl Cobranchi. As with RedKudu, Daryl is an edublogger, but with a different slant. He’s a homeschooler and writes about homeschooling, politics and astronomy. To borrow a phrase from Dean Dad his politics are not mine, but he’s so eloquent about them, I love to read. I never thought much about home schooling before I came upon him, but now I understand a lot more about it.

Dr. Flea. Dr. Flea is the pediatrician I want for my child. Too bad he’s anonymous and lives in a different city, or I would track him down. He comments on medical issues, shedding light on things such as the Gardasil controversy and parents who demand “treatments” for common colds. Love him!

Dr. Helen. Where does one even begin? She’s a forensic psychologist who comments on everything under the sun, with a psychological slant. I’ve learned so much from her about how humans think and interact. Her post from yesterday on how men and women express depression differently turned a little lightbulb on in my head. As an HR professional, that was one valuable piece of information. HR is very female centric and I had never thought about this difference in gender.

Nick Corcodilos at Ask the Headhunter. It’s not really a blog, but he sends out a must read weekly newsletter for any person who is now or ever will be looking for a job. I’ve mentioned in the past that I hate recruiters, so when I found him I was anxious to find out what makes recruiters tick. Well, he’s not a recruiter, he’s a headhunter and a brilliant one at that. I’m not in the market for a new job, but I know I will be some day, so I read him faithfully. Sign up for his newsletter while you’re at it.

Jay Shepherd at Gruntled Employees. First, what a great name for a blog. He’s a labor and employment lawyer who gives us lawyerly insight on HR law and how to keep our employees from becoming “disgruntled.” Fascinating stuff.

Whew! Even with going over my limit of 5, I still feel like I have about 20 more to share. I really, really, need to update my blogroll.


How to Avoid Being Fired

by Evil HR Lady on February 27, 2007

Dear Evil HR Lady

I am a 15 year old high school student who will be starting his first summer job this summer. The question I want to ask you is, What are several basic steps one can do to avoid being fired from his or her job? For example, what did your subordinates do in order to be on your good side, and to prevent you from firing them?


Dear Catsagdn,

First, if I had a summer job, I would hire you. But I don’t, so I can’t. But I can already tell that being fired won’t be a problem for you.

At fifteen, you’re likely to be in an unskilled, entry level job–restaurants, grocery stores, theme parks, yard work, etc. (I understand landscaping companies pay better than fast food, by the way. It’s harder work, out in the sun, but no grease!)

Most of the people you will be working with will be young and inexperienced as well. So, I’m going to change your goal of “avoiding being fired” to “be the manager’s favorite employee and hopefully get a raise by the end of summer and at least a guarenteed job next year.” Boy, that was a poorly written goal!

Anyway, this advice is coming from someone who has not only had people reporting to her, but was also Burger King Employee of the Month (I have a plaque and everything). Here are the steps:

1. Be on time. Every day.
2. Dress appropriately. If you’re at a place with a uniform, wear it with your shirt tucked in and the proper shoes. If no uniform, check out the dress code and follow it.
3. No bad language. Ever.
4. Smile and be helpful to the customers. Always. Customers are sometimes idiots, but you be nice. If a customer gets belligerant, call the manager over.
5. Work while you are there. I realize this seems obvious, but it’s not. If there are no customers, straighten shelves or wipe down counters. Fold clothes. Volunteer to help someone else.
6. Manager ask you to do something stupid, like wear a cow suit and stand in front of the store? Do it anyway.
7. Be responsible.
8. Go above and beyond in your customer service.
9. When Evil HR Lady comes in, give her a discount. (Just kidding–do not hand out discounts to ANYONE, including your obnoxious Aunt Joan, without your manager’s approval.)
10. Have fun working.

If you do these things, not only will you not be fired, you’ll soar at work. Everyone of us has worked that first job. It’s scary and it’s hard, but you’ll do fabulously well.

I welcome other suggestions for our job hunting friend.

Evil HR Lady


Potential Pregnancy?

by Evil HR Lady on February 26, 2007

Dear Evil HR Lady –

I’m looking for advice on how to handle the following situation.

I left my job 3 months ago and to take some time off – with no deadline as to when I would resume work. Then, a handsome and ideal job fell in my radar. The company has extended a generous offer to me. It’s a senior management position. The kicker is that we have trying to get pregnant for the last 3 years. In the last year have been receiving medical help. In fact, I’m in my last week of an infertility treatment cycle and will be taking a pregnancy test in 7 days. Mind you, this is the 3 attempt – so we haven’t been successful yet. I plan on accepting this offer. The question is, do I tell the company that I have plans to start a family or that in 7 days I will know whether or not I’m pregnant. I feel compel to say something because the position I would fill is important to the organization. I don’t think my pregnancy would diminish my ability to contribute – but I don’t want to start off a working relationship with the perception that I tricked them.


Dear New Senior Manager,

I hope all goes well and you are pregnant. In the past I’ve recommended disclosing a pregnancy so as to not end up in a hostile environment. (Keep in mind that discriminating against you because you are pregnant is illegal, but difficult to prove.) However, you don’t know if you are pregnant yet–you just might be pregnant. Disclosing at this point seems like too much information.

However, I’m a bit concerned about you. Why did you take three months off? Was it for the pressures of dealing with infertility? If you did, you’re not alone. It can be a terribly stressful time and you aren’t the first person to need time off. My big concern is if you aren’t pregnant. Then what? Are you prepared to go through another round of treatments?

If you are going to need time off for these treatments, you’ll need to explain early. Unfortunately, I don’t believe you can be guarenteed time off for treatments, as it’s not fully decided whether infertility is covered under ADA. Keep in mind that as a new employee, you aren’t eligible for FMLA either.

Since you are planning to accept the offer, regardless of the result of the pregnancy test, and since they can’t rescind it, I would not say anything at this point. Wait unti your pregnancy is established and then go forward. If you were further along, I’d have you tell now, but since you’re not, wait a bit.

Good luck with everything,

Evil HR Lady


Performance Appraisal? Check.

by Evil HR Lady on February 25, 2007

Well, I’ve finally had my yearly performance appraisal. I am, of course, a wonderful employee. (Would you expect anything less from me? Afterall, I am evil and I am in HR, so of course it’s a perfect match.)

My boss did point out one, umm, less than perfect area: I’m too negative.

While you ponder on that, I will tell you that yesterday I took the Offspring to a birthday party. Twenty 3 and 4 year olds in a small house with the heat on and a Sleeping Beauty look alike who couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket actually had me thinking, while walking down the stairs, “you know, if I fell down these stairs and broke my leg, I could leave this nightmare early.”

Anyway, my boss said that I’m a little too negative. I don’t know where on earth she gets that idea.


Carnival of the Insanities

by Evil HR Lady on February 25, 2007

Is up over at Dr. Sanity’s place.

My favorite this week is 25 tips from the frugally insane.

11. Why pay for expensive jigsaws? Just take a bag of frozen fries from the freezer and try piercing together potatoes.

12. Smell gas? Locate the suspected leak by striking an ordinary match in every room in the house until a loud explosion reveals the source of the escaping gas.

13. Always keep a stick of butter in your pocket so that if you get your head stuck in railings you’ll be able to grease your ears and slide out.


How Did Your Mother Get to Be the Head of a Korean Bank?

by Evil HR Lady on February 24, 2007

Why aren’t you married yet? Are you dating anyone? Umm, hi Mom! Okay, not hi, my mom because I’m happily married, but unless you got married at 19, your Mom has said that or is saying that to you. So, it looks like your mom just got a new job–managing benefits at a South Korean bank.

A top South Korean bank is sending a group of its single female employees on a blind date trip to North Korea, hoping that romance will make them happy at the office, an official said on Tuesday.

Hmmm, when I think “Hot single guys” I always think, “North Korea!” Don’t you?

The bank pays dating service fees as part of their benefits package. I think I’ll bring that up next time I’m talking to our benefits counsel. “Hey, I have this great idea…”

And just how is this dating trip supposed to make the bank’s unhappy females any happier? If they do hit it off with a North Korean hottie, how is that going to work out? “Sure, I’ll give up freedom here in South Korea and move on up to be with my northern dream boat!” Somehow I don’t think the North Korean government will be too hip on exporting their single guys to South Korean bankers.

The whole singles/dating scene reminded me of Deb Owen’s defense of being single. (She says she got it from Karen, but I couldn’t find it on her site. I do want to give credit where it is due.)

My favorite:

2. Married people are not necessarily better catches simply because they were caught. I mean, have you taken a look at some of the married people out there? Seriously. Even Frankenstein got married. Obviously married people are not superior people.

Hmmm, is there a correlation between Frankenstein and North Korea?


Carnival of Human Resources

by Evil HR Lady on February 21, 2007

Welcome to the first Carnival of Human Resources! Many people have submitted fabulous posts about this lovely world of HR. The next Carnival will be in two weeks (March 7), so please submit your posts by March 6, and you can join the carnival. Submissions can be sent to evilhrlady at hotmail.com or by clicking on the e-mail me link on the side.

And, now, let the Carnival begin!

Because this is the Evil HR Lady’s blog, it makes sense that our first post would be Satan’s Training Brochure. I always suspected that it existed, but now I know. Wayne Turmel braved fire and brimstone to bring us back this brochure. Here are some sample headers:

  • God Only Wishes He Was in Sales: getting the rest of the organization to appreciate your brilliance
  • Getting To Maybe:- Delayed Decision Making For the Budget-Constrained
  • Mastering PowerlessPoint: Perfecting the Defensive Presentation
  • The Seven Habits of Not-Completely-Useless People: Working Just Hard Enough To Keep Your Job
  • Clearly Lisa Rosendahl didn’t take any of the above classes. She deals with decision making and makes it pretty clear that she recognizes the issues around the decisions. Sometimes there is more than one way to see things:

    I have a Human Resource Specialist who made a decision a few weeks ago. Without getting into the HR details of it, this was a pure matter of interpretation. The service line does not agree with the decision. For me, this decision comes down to value. The decision made placed the value differently than where the service line is placing it. Is one value judgment right and one wrong? Absolutely not. May the decision change? Maybe and maybe not.

    Deb over at 8 Hours and a Lunch talks about taking employee suggestions seriously. She writes :

    who better knows how to improve a process than the people using it? sure. management and leadership are an important component in making improvements work. but sometimes the elegant solutions come from the factory floor, the person answering the phones, the programming gurus, those on the front lines.

    but listening to employees and implementing improvements they’ve recommended can be an opportunity for something sometimes less obvious. it can be key to helping you develop them as well.

    Development and business improvement in one easy step. What more could an HR department want?

    And finally, from me, a post about workplace bullies. I’ve encountered them. I think you have too. I think they took Satan’s training classes. Hmmm, maybe I’ll look at that brochure again.


    I Wonder What He Would Have Done if the Car Was a Lexus?

    by Evil HR Lady on February 20, 2007

    Kidnapping faked to avoid wife’s wrath.

    SAN RAFAEL, California — A man who allegedly faked his own kidnapping to keep his wife from finding out he crashed her new car could face criminal charges, police said.

    Police said the 35-year-old man told them two kidnappers held him up Saturday and ordered him to drive to Santa Rosa, where he crashed the car into a wall to escape.

    The man was actually heading to a casino when he crashed his wife’s 2007 Ford Focus.

    Absolutely nothing to do with HR or business, but I just had to share.