February 2016

My boss wants to manage my bathroom breaks

by Evil HR Lady on February 19, 2016

I am an exempt employee and have never really given much thought as to when I can go to lunch or when I use the bathroom. However, I have a new boss who I think is going on a “power trip” and she sent an email edict requiring everyone to tell her of our comings and goings. Our staff is now required to tell her when we go on lunch or when we go to the bathroom. I would like to know if this is legal? Is there something that can be done?

It’s legal, but it’s stupid. The lunch thing is somewhat logical because it’s sometimes good to know if people will be out of pocket for an hour or so, but to tell her before you go to the bathroom? That’s NUTS.

I’d go to her and say, “Jane, can you explain to me what problem you’re trying to solve here? It feels really intrusive to have to tell my boss when I need to pee.”

She’s probably one of those managers who is trying to solve a problem with a specific employee but is too scared to actually speak to the employee so is making a blanket rule. Or she’s simply a power hungry jerk who is trying to assert her authority.

If that doesn’t solve it, and if you have a good relationship with her boss, I’d bring it up to her boss. “Jane’s kind of gone off the deep end. She wants us to tell her each time we go to the bathroom. Is there anything you can do about it?” If this person is at all logical, she’ll put a stop to it.

Now, none of this is true if you’re, like, a front end manager at a grocery store and there always has to be a manager available so you need someone to cover for you while you run to the bathroom. But, since you haven’t had a problem in the past, I doubt you’re in a situation like that.

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The 9 Worst Ways to Manage People

by Evil HR Lady on February 18, 2016

If you’ve ever had a bad boss (and we’ve all had a bad boss at some time or another—ask me about my manager who used to corner me and try to argue scriptures with me), you’ve seen some awful management.

But, do their actions qualify as the worst way to manage people? Here are the nine worst ways to manage people. See how many you’ve experienced.

Pit People against Each Other

I’m not talking about a sales contest to encourage high performance.

I’m talking about playing favorites, gossiping, telling one person one thing and telling another a completely different thing.

It makes your employees hate each other and fight for your praise. It may make you feel good in the moment, but it’s destructive.

To keep reading, click here: The 9 Worst Ways to Manage People

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Managing Health Care Costs: 5 Best Practices

by Evil HR Lady on February 17, 2016

Skyrocketing health care costs are in the news every night, and for business owners below the enterprise level, it might seem impossible to keep your costs reasonable while juggling all the other tasks on your plate. However, there are many things you can do to keep those costs from rising too quickly — and maybe even to cut some.

Here are five best practices to consider implementing:

1. Institute a Wellness Program

Wellness programs are popular for good reason: Ideally, they’re fun for employees and lead to money saved. In fact, the right workplace exercise programs can save you up to 20 percent in health care costs and reduce your sick leave by up to 6 percent, some research has shown. You can’t complain about those kinds of savings.

To keep reading, click here: Managing Health Care Costs: 5 Best Practices

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6 Reasons It’s Great to Be an Adult

by Evil HR Lady on February 16, 2016

I keep seeing memes and rants about the difficulties of “adulting.” People are patting themselves on the back for things like putting on pants. Let me let you in on a little secret: You have to wear pants when you are a kid too. And sometimes, you even have to wear pants that your mom picks out for you that you hate. In reality, it’s great to be an adult and “adulting” is more fun than being a kid. Here are six reasons why it’s awesome.

1. You can choose your own pants. This seems like a little thing, but when you think about it, it’s huge. You can wear whatever you want. You don’t have to ask permission to buy something, you can just do it. Now, I’m sure, people are lining up with objections-my company dress code doesn’t allow jeans, or I need to wear a suit when I meet with clients. Boo, hoo. Those are choices that you get to make. You choose to follow the company dress code because you like the consequence–which is keeping your job. You choose to wear a suit when you meet with clients because you’d like to land the account.

To keep reading, click here: 6 Reasons It’s Great to Be an Adult

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Old Dog, New Tricks: Is It Too Late for a Career Change?

by Evil HR Lady on February 15, 2016

One of my long time friends posted this on his Facebook, “Sitting here watching TED talks about creativity and education and wondering at what point in my life I went from being a truly creative person to just being a good test taker and hoop-jump-through-er.”

He’s in his mid-40s and actually works in a creative field, but he’s run into the bureaucracy that tends to squash creativity. Like many of us, he thinks about changing something, but is it too late to change careers?

The answer is maybe.

For some people, it’s too late to change careers after you’re 22. Others? They can change careers up until death.

Here’s what you need to know about career changes.

To keep reading, click here: Old Dog, New Tricks: Is It Too Late for a Career Change?

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What is your worst video conference story?

by Evil HR Lady on February 15, 2016

I had a video conference this morning at 5:30 am. While I tend to be a morning person, I’m not a 5:30 am kind of a morning person. This particular video conference is just a monthly meeting of my family–my siblings, parents and any random children that happen to be around, so it’s not necessary that I wear a suit. And, in fact, I usually don’t turn on my camera, and simply sit in my bed. (I live in Europe, the rest of my family lives in Utah and California, so the time zone problem is real. It’s Sunday evening for them and very early Monday morning for me.)

Today’s conference had a bit of a snafu. My hard drive died on my warrantied computer. So, I took it in to the store and they said they could, indeed, fix it, but it would take 4-6 weeks! I was like, dude, do you have to go mine the metal yourselves? But, they held firm. Because they valued their lives they gave me a loaner computer. Now, on my computer, the camera doesn’t turn for a Google Hangouts conference unless I turn it on. Turns out this computer turned it on automatically. Which meant all of my siblings, their spouses, and my parents got a good view of me, inappropriately dressed for video conferences, in my bed.

They are family so it was funny. And then my cousin, who was visiting my sister (but not in the room when I inadvertently had my camera on), shared a story about how he once thought he had his camera off when he was doing a video conference and started changing his clothes, only to be yelled at by a conference participant before he entered dress code violation territory, not to mention a sexual harassment nightmare.

So, what has happened to you (or have you seen?) in your days of video conferencing? Share your stories in the comments, or send me an email at evilhrlady@gmail.com and I’ll use these stories for a new article.

Hope your Monday is off to a better start than mine! Happy President’s Day!

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Have you ever been through a job interview that just drained you?

When you left, it felt like you’d just spent an hour on the treadmill while you had the flu.

Okay, maybe that’s extreme, but interviewing can be tough.

When you sail through an interview and walk out going, “Wow! Nailed it. That was easy,” you may well have nailed it, and you may get the job, but you may not love it.

A new study by Glassdoor found that a tough interview is highly correlated with a satisfying job.

They found that employees who go through a more difficult job interview were more likely to be satisfied with the resulting job. This held true in six countries–the United States, UK, Canada, Australia, Germany and France. A 10 percent increase in job interview difficulty resulted in a 2.6 percent higher employee satisfaction in the job.

Why on earth would this be the case? Why would a hiring manager who asks the hard questions and maybe has candidates do difficult tasks make an environment that is better for the employee? Why would an employee be more satisfied in their job? Here are some ideas.

To keep reading, click here: Fret Not: Study Shows Hard Interviews Result In Better Jobs

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A résumé is, first and foremost, a marketing document. It’s not supposed to be your entire life history, and it doesn’t include bad things, just good.

Remember marketing. Would Coca-Cola make a commercial that highlighted the sugar content of its flagship product? No? Then don’t put negative things on your résumé either.

You probably don’t need a complete overhaul, but you could bump it up a notch or two. Here are ten ideas to turn your résumé from good to great.

Ditch the Objective

No one wants to work at a corrupt company that abuses its employees and offers no chance for growth, so saying the opposite is just wasting space.

To keep reading, click here: New Year, New You: Guide to Taking Your Résumé Up a Notch

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I have worked for the same company since 2005, and had a solid career with them. In 2015, I was relocated into a position and signed a one-year contract, which should technically end soon. I have multiple reasons to feel less satisfied with the position and to be considering alternatives; however, have been determined to keep my agreement and pass the one-year mark (which I will do).

That said, in this last year, I have taken a 14-week maternity leave, which was partly paid, vacation, and partially unpaid. Do you know this affects my “one-year” tenure in the position, particularly the unpaid leave (which I believe was 5 weeks)? I would like to give them a decent notice if I should decide to leave the position (which I think is likely), but I also want to make sure that I have surpassed my one year mark officially.

Could you tell me whether the unpaid leave (or any of the above) would be factored out of my one-year time-frame? It is not explicitly written in the contract.

As a side-note, I am achieving positive results, yet have a strained connection with my boss.

I’m 90 percent sure that the leave, which was FMLA approved (I assume–correct me if I’m wrong) still counts towards your time in the position for this purpose, as the contract probably says 1 year, and nothing else (since you said it’s not explicit). The extra two weeks were not FMLA approved, since that maxes out at 12 weeks. Now, if they were going to say that didn’t count towards the year, they’d have to say that for all leaves (jury duty, personal leaves, etc), and not just FMLA leaves. (Congratulations on the baby, by the way!)

I’ve never heard of relocation repayment requirements ever being extended because of a leave of absence, but, honestly, nothing surprises me now. So, I’ll throw this out to my readers (since they did such a fabulous job with the last one and I even got two of my favorite lawyers to write posts about my post–Jon Hyman’s Can an employer prohibit an employee from job hunting during FMLA leave? and Eric Meyer’s Ok, it’s my turn. Can you forbid an employee from job hunting while on FMLA leave?)

On a practical level, unless you already have a new job lined up, it’s unlikely you’ll find one and be ready to start it in the next few weeks anyway. You don’t want to quit your job without a new one lined up, so go ahead and start looking and unless the comments say otherwise, don’t panic about the repayment thing.

 

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So, it turns out in the early days of Microsoft Bill Gates memorized the license plate numbers of employees so he could know who was in the office. He considered this part of his fanatical dedication to work, but it actually shows a serious lack of understanding about work.

Now, I’m not saying that his methods failed-obviously, they didn’t. But just because someone is successful in their business doesn’t mean that everything they do makes sense. What could he have done instead of spending time memorizing license plate numbers? Just about anything. Here’s why this is not a great business practice.

Hours in the office don’t mean a great deal.

Sure, Microsoft is full of programmers who are going to be able to do more work when they are at work then they would being elsewhere. (After all, working from home wasn’t terribly practical in the beginning days of Microsoft.) But, what can you really tell by the number of hours someone is in the office? Not much. Is their work the best? Are they producing quality work, or goofing off? What’s the productivity? Butt-in-seat time isn’t the best way to judge people.

To keep reading, click here: The Creepy Passive Aggressive Behavior of One of the Richest Entrepreneurs in the World

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