How to Work When You’re Depressed

by Evil HR Lady on October 11, 2017

October 10th was World Mental Health Day. I didn’t write about it yesterday because I was traveling, but I don’t want to skip over such an important day. 18.5 percent of American Adults suffer from some type of mental illness every year. That’s 43.8 million people or almost 1 in five. Take a look around your office. There’s a good chance that there are several people in your office who have some sort of mental illness right now and you’re not even aware. Of those, over 6 million are suffering from depression.

I’m one of those people. I have anxiety and depression which is (thankfully) well managed by medication. The downside? Medication makes me fat. But, since my choices are to be fat and happy or thin and an anxious depressed mess, I’ll take the plus size clothing, thanks. You wouldn’t know that I suffer from depression if you met me, by the way, even before I was on medication because I’m good at putting on a happy face. And chances are, there is someone at your office, or maybe you, who is also good at getting through life when she feels rotten.

If you’re depressed, you still have to go to work and earn money. It’s how it is. Plus, you need that health insurance more than ever! Some of the best tips I’ve ever read on functioning with depression come from Jennifer P, also known as, Captain Awkward in her 2013 article, “How to Tighten Your Game When You’re Depressed.” I strongly recommend reading the whole thing, but here are some of her ideas:

To keep reading, click here: How to Work When You’re Depressed

And if you are depressed and you can only bring yourself to read one article on the topic, click on the Captain Awkward link above. Sure, I love your hits on my article, but the Captain Awkward one is a must-read for anyone with depression and a job and school.


Man Fired For Bringing a Watermelon to Work

by Evil HR Lady on October 10, 2017

Watermelon, when in season, is available at every grocery store. At many grocery stores, you can buy it whole, quartered, or even cut into rind free, individually wrapped pieces. But, if you show up with one at a certain Detroit firehouse, you’ll be fired. That’s what happened when firefighter trainee Robert Pattison brought a whole watermelon as a present for his new co-workers.

Traditionally, probationary firefighters bring in a gift for the existing group. Donuts are the top choice but are not required. The firefighters at Engine 55 at Joy and Southfield in Detroit are 90 percent African American and some took the watermelon gift as a racist statement. They complained, and Pattison was fired.Fire Commissioner Eric Jones Jones said:\

To keep reading, click here: Man Fired For Bringing a Watermelon to Work


Your employees need a reason to want to stay with your company. Thus, employee incentive programs are important. So, what incentive program is best for your company? Here are the pros and cons of different employee incentive programs so you can decide which is right for your business.

Annual Cost-of-Living Raises

Pro: Everyone can look forward to a raise at year-end.

Con: All you have to do to get the raise is not get fired. That’s a pretty low standard. While there is value in keeping employees’ salaries steady—which is what a cost-of-living raise does—it also doesn’t reward high performers, which are the people you want to keep around.

To keep reading, click here: Employee Incentive Programs: Which One is Right For Your Business?

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10 Entry Level Work-From-Home Jobs

by Evil HR Lady on October 6, 2017

If you are like many people, you’d love to work at home. The problem is in finding a good, work at home job. Often, telecommuting jobs that don’t require extensive experience are stuck in the customer service realm. Those aren’t bad jobs, but if it isn’t your thing, FlexJobs has found 10 entry-level jobs that just might appeal to you.

1. YouTube Content Producer and Talent

If you’re social media savvy and have kids, then this could be the ideal entry-level, stay-at-home job for you! As a YouTube content producer, you’ll capture real-life and unscripted situations while providing entertaining kids’ content. This company is seeking families with children from ages 4 to 10. This position is remote, contract, and entry level.

To keep reading, click here: 10 Entry Level Work-From-Home Jobs


Where do women study STEM at high rates? Sweden, where gender equality is a super important cultural value? In the US where we spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to get more women into tech? Or in the Middle East, where some women can’t (yet) legally drive and are the property of their closest male relative?

If you answered the latter, you’d be right. In a fascinating article about education in the Middle East, Amanda Ripley writes at The Atlantic:

In fact, across the Arab world, women now earn more science degrees on a percentage basis than women in the United States. In Saudi Arabia alone, women earn half of all science degrees. And yet, most of those women are unlikely to put their degrees to paid use for very long.

This is baffling on the most obvious levels. In the West, researchers have long believed that future prospects incentivize students to invest in school. The conventional wisdom is that girls do better in school as women acquire more legal and political rights in society. But many Middle Eastern women do not go on to have long professional careers after graduating; they spend much of their lives working at home as wives and mothers. Fewer than one in every five workers is female in Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman.

All throughout the world, girls outperform boys in school. That’s not the shocking part. The shocking part is that we claim that women aren’t studying STEM subjects at school and aren’t entering tech careers in the US because of discrimination and oppression, but in countries where women don’t have a lot of rights (and granted, those rights vary drastically even within Middle Eastern countries), they manage to succeed in STEM in school.

To keep reading, click here:  If You Want More Women in STEM, Try Discriminating Against Them


Should Your Company Offer Unlimited PTO?

by Evil HR Lady on October 4, 2017

Unlimited vacation days sound like a dream. Imagine being able to take off and go to the beach anytime you like. Or perhaps beach trips aren’t your thing, so you can go skiing every Friday or stay home every time your children are out of school. Think of the money you’ll save by not having to pay for child care during those times!

Unfortunately, unlimited PTO doesn’t really work that way in practice. You still need to do your job, which means you still need to work. And if you don’t do a good job and get all of your work done, you’ll be fired. So, unlimited PTO doesn’t necessarily translate into more time off.

Forbes says that everyone should offer unlimited PTO, based on Netflix’s example. After all, given today’s knowledge economy and the instant availability required in most jobs—time that isn’t tracked—why bother tracking time away from the office? It makes some sense, but it doesn’t always work in the employees’ favor. Here are some examples.

To keep reading, click here: Should Your Company Offer Unlimited PTO?


Top down management sounds like a pretty traditional hierarchy. There’s the CEO, his minions, their minions, and then the worker bees. Everyone does precisely what the person above them tells them to do. However, this “top-down” style of management is pretty awful in real life. There isn’t a CEO on the planet that is so brilliant he needs no ideas from the “little people.”

To read all about it, click here: The Perils of Top Down Management

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The October 1 massacre that killed over 50 and wounded hundreds more was a national tragedy. Most people were in shock, horrified and saddened by what happened. But, CBS Senior Attorney Hayley Geftman-Gold wasn’t saddened or even sympathetic to the victims, according to a comment she made on Facebook, which was captured and shared by Brandon Morse:

CBS did the right thing and fired Geftman-Gold’s because of her statement that “I’m actually not even sympathetic bc country music fans are often republican gun toters.”

To keep reading, click here: CBS Fires Vice President Over Horrible Las Vegas Facebook Post


Someone Sabotaged My LinkedIn Account

by Evil HR Lady on October 2, 2017

One of my readers had something horrible happen to her: a competitor hacked her LinkedIn account and then sent nasty messages to a bunch of her contacts. To make it even more difficult, after sending the messages, the hacker deleted the messages so my poor reader can’t tell who got a nasty message and who didn’t. If the person doesn’t respond, she may never know. She asked me “How do I undo the damage to my professional reputation?”

While I like to think that most people are good people (and I do believe this) there are definitely a few bad apples who will stop at nothing to destroy someone else.If you run afoul of such a person, heaven help you.

But, is this woman’s professional reputation destroyed? Probably not. Here’s what you should do to start to undo the damage an enemy can make.

To keep reading, click here: Someone Sabotaged My LinkedIn Account


Swiss Saturday: Ebonics and Swiss German

by Evil HR Lady on September 30, 2017

Amy Alkon’s commentary on Ebonics caught my eye. She responded to an article by Michael Hobbs called “Why America Needs Ebonics Now.” I find discussion on language fascinating–especially since moving to a new country and learning a new language.

Alkon says that teaching Ebonics in schools is “dooming Black children and pretending it’s progress.” Hobbs argues for more teaching in Ebonics. He worries about “the idea that Standard English must be constantly defended against marauders is an example of what linguists call ‘dominant language ideology,’ and even well-intentioned, otherwise open-minded people display it without noticing.” This, is a bad thing, as it makes teachers think children who speak  African-American Vernacular English (AAVE or Ebonics) are unintelligent.

I come to this with a different viewpoint, after having lived for many years in a country where the native language and the official language are two different languages. Here are my two points. 1. Standard English must be taught and defended against marauders in the classroom. 2. Speaking AAVE has nothing to do with intelligence or potential. Here’s why.

The native language in the German-speaking part of Switzerland is Swiss German. Except saying that makes it sound like there is one Swiss German language. There is not. Each region has their own dialect, and differing dialects aren’t unique to Switzerland. The Germans and the Austrians have literally hundreds of different dialects. Where I live, the dialect is called Baseldeutsch (in high or standard German) or Baseldytsch (in dialect). Being that we live right on the French border, there are a lot of French influences in this language. When we greet people we don’t know on the street we say “Grüezi.” People we do know we greet with “salli!”

Contrast that to other areas of Switzerland where they may say “Grüess Gott, Grüessech, or Grüezi wohl.” Is one better than the other? Are people from Bern more intelligent than people from Basel? Are people who are raised in rural mountain areas and who have such a distinct dialect that my native Swiss friends can’t even understand them somehow less intelligent than people whose dialect is closer to standard German? It’s a ridiculous question.

But, the Swiss (and the Germans, and the Austrians) all recognized that if they want to be successful outside their villages they needed a common language. So, while very few Swiss speak high German (or standard German, or sometimes referred to as written German), at home, they all learn it at school. Textbooks, newspapers, romance novels, and legal documents are written in high German. This allows the person from the Berner Oberland and the person from Basel to understand what a person from Berlin says. It allows the school system to make one set of textbooks instead of spending millions of dollars to translate textbooks into every dialect. (And, incidentally, Swiss German doesn’t have a standard written form, so that makes it even more difficult.) It allows a family to move from one village to another and still conduct business.

Dialects and Creoles deserve respect. But, standard languages must be taught in schools if we want children to succeed outside their own villages–whether that be a Swiss mountain village, a few blocks of American inner city, or a town in Appalachia. Code-switching between languages (a term I realize is not accurate for every dialect and linguists debate over what is a language and what is not a language, but I’m using it as a catchall for dialects, creoles, and pidgins) is commonplace where I live. Someone will speak to me in Swiss German, I’ll answer back in high German, and they’ll recognize that I’m American and switch to English. (Okay, the Swiss are really, really, really good with language.) Actually, often now they’ll continue on in high German without missing a beat as my high German is acceptable.

So, while I agree with Hobbs that AAVE needs to be respected and especially that educators need to understand that it is a legitimate language, I also agree with Alkon that not requiring all children in the United States to learn standard English is dooming them to an insulated life without the possibility of greater success. The assumption needs to be that all children are capable of learning a standard language and that learning one does not mean anything negative about the language spoken at home.

In that regard, they need to take a page out of the Swiss playbook.