October 2012

I was totally going to write about this, but didn’t have time.  Fortunately the fabulous Alison Green at Ask a Manager already did.

Go read her answer and find out if you’ll be receiving a paycheck for the time your office was closed.

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The do’s and don’ts of Halloween at the office

by Evil HR Lady on October 31, 2012

I realize if you’re reading this, you’re probably already at the office in your inappropriate costume. (Just kidding! My readers know better.) But, it got bumped yesterday due to something called Sandy.

So, if you wish to read about Halloween at the office, put down the Snickers (leave some for the trick or treaters please!) and click here: The do’s and don’ts of Halloween at the office


Does your name affect your job search?

by Evil HR Lady on October 26, 2012

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I’m currently in the job market and am wondering about how professional I’m coming across when I apply for jobs and go on interviews. My given name is, no kidding, Davey Jones (My parents apparently had an “ill” sense of humor when I was born in 1970 — plus my mom was infatuated with Davy Jones — and yes I’ve heard all the jokes about my locker and The Monkees… *sigh*.) I’m in my forties and I am wondering about how professional my name comes across on my resume and correspondence. I obviously can change my name but, I actually really like it and all my friends and family call me by “Davey.” Should I just go with “David,” and when/if any legal paperwork/issues come and tell them that my real name is ‘Davey’? Just curious about this all. Thank you for any advice you can give.

All my best,


P.S., Feel free to use my real name if you post this online. Doesn’t matter to me as it is my name and I totally embrace it!

To read the answer click here: Does your name affect your job search?


I got this request from a reporter. I’m feeling nice, so I’m posting it. If you want to participate in her article, contact her directly. If you want to gripe anonymously, do so in the comments.

I’m a reporter at the Los Angeles Times working on a story about how the work environments at many offices are changing because of cost-cutting and shrinking revenues. I know people are working longer hours – often outside of the office, are always on call, all while their pay and benefits are shrinking and they’re being tracked and evaluated more closely by bosses. They’re being asked to pay for their own office equipment, for example, or are finding it is easier to get kicked off benefits plans with one false step. I’m looking for a few people willing to speak on the record about their experience with the changing workplace – how they’re seeing work environments change after the recession, and how this is affecting their home lives. Would really appreciate anyone willing to speak on the issue. They can reach me atalana.semuels@latimes.com or 212-448-2945.


Every time I write an article about reference checking I get a comment like this one: “This article is a waste. Nobody gives bad references – they are too afraid of being sued.”

While it’s true that some people won’t give out references, many, many will.Allison & Taylor, a company which specializes in reference checking, helpfully provided me with some real life responses to reference checks.

to keep reading click here: Do you know what your references will day? True quotes from reference checkers


Failed Entrepreneur? Hope lives for your job search

by Evil HR Lady on October 22, 2012

Dear Evil HR Lady,


My mom is 50 years old and is on the verge of losing her second startup in 15 years. Both cases are due to her partners (different people) embezzling money and leaving the company in more debt than can be handled.

She seems to have finally had enough of this whole scene and has asked me to do her resume for her so she can look for a job. I’m more than willing to help, but I’m concerned about her actual job options once we get her resume out there. 

Finally, I’d like to ask how we can write her resume? She was C-level in both the startups (as one can imagine), so the responsibilities are more or less given. But she tells me the achievements are less defined, because her business was mostly in distributing Hazmat [hazardous material] equipment and only did Hazmat certification sessions for free.

Does she have hope?

To read the answer click here: Failed Entrepreneur? Hope lives for your job search


How to bounce back after being fired

by Evil HR Lady on October 17, 2012

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I worked for what I thought was a pretty good guy. He actually hired me. I had the job I always wanted in the industry that I loved. I managed a staff of 5 very talented individuals. Then one day, the tables turned. He was removed from one VP role he was serving in and was now spending 100 percent of his time as VP of my department and function. He began to play me and my employees off of each other. He drove a wedge between them and me. He treated me like a rented mule, put me on a performance improvement plan for what he called a “lack of leadership”, and eventually eliminated my position. This took about a year in all. I can’t say I didn’t see this all coming. He was a VP with only 2 direct reports, and I had 5 as a director. He did everything “by the book” in terms of documenting why he canned me.

My problem is that I was a good manager. I led a team that reinvented the branding and marketing output of the company and elevated the company in the industry. We were extremely successful and had a great thing going. I am 57 years old and I am afraid that I am now unemployable, and have a difficult time trying to “spin” my situation to a prospective employer, when I know I was hosed. I guess I just want your insight. I’m sure this stuff happens all the time.

To read the answer click here: How to bounce back after being fired


Famous by Friday–Free e-book offer

by Evil HR Lady on October 15, 2012

I got an email from Jim Breese offering me and my readers a free copy of his ebook. I like free, so I thought I’d share it. Here’s the info:

I know that you are in the business of making people more effective in their
work, and I bet that some of your younger clients might benefit from reading
this material.  It’s available at Diesel e-books and other sites, but it’s
FREE at:


Use coupon EU84B and it will be free; this coupon is good until Oct 15.
Please pass this information on to anyone you think might benefit from it…

I haven’t read it yet, but it’s now sitting on my Kindle.


Forced to Resign–A Rant

by Evil HR Lady on October 15, 2012

A few months ago I wrote this piece, Forced to resign: What are your options? in which I pointed out that no one can force you to resign. Because if you don’t resign, what are they going to do? Fire you?

For some reason this concept is exceedingly difficult to swallow for people and I’ve gotten a ton of emails from people saying how they were forced to resign.


Ahem, sorry about the screaming. Unless someone is holding a gun to your head, or threatening your family, you are choosing to resign. (And if they are forcing you, then please call the police and press charges.)

The world is a much happier place when we all accept that we make choices. And those choices have consequences.

Donna Ballman has a great list of when to decide whether to resign or wait to be fired, in her piece, “My employer says I have to resign. What do I do?

Feeling pressured to resign, sure that happens. But, forced? No. You have options. You can say no. You can negotiate. Do not be a wimp when it comes to your own career.

Do not sign anything you don’t feel comfortable with. Get copies of everything you sign. Make choices. And then take accountability for your choices. Practice saying, “I chose to do this because…”

Okay, I’m done ranting.


Why tracking employee hours is dumb

by Evil HR Lady on October 9, 2012

Dear Evil HR Lady,

We have a part-time pastor at our church who is required to work 30 hours a week. He has signed a contract that states he only works 30 hour weeks. He is an “exempt” employee.

He doesn’t tell the personnel people in our church when he is on vacation or when he is taking sick leave. My question is, how do we know how to calculate his vacation and sick leave if he won’t give us this information?

To read the answer click here: Why tracking employee hours is dumb.