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Showing posts from June, 2010

The Biggest Hiring Challenge For Military Veterans? Selling Their Job Experience

Why aren't more military veterans getting hired?

It's a question the Society For Human Resources Management has been looking into lately, and it finds the biggest barrier military veterans face in finding a non-military job is selling their military experience to HR people who don't know very much about the military.

About 60% of the HR people surveyed say military veterans have a hard time writing resumes and interviewing in a way that "translates" their military skills into an everyday office setting. A full 36% of HR people, meanwhile, see the time it takes military veterans to adapt to civilian office life as a potential challenge.

SHRM surveyed 429 HR people earlier this month.

Now for the strange thing about this research: The same HR people who worry about hiring military veterans rave about the ex-military employees they've hired in the past. About 97% say military veterans bring a lot of responsibility to the job and roughly the same percentage (96%) say…

Are Funeral Directors' Contract Talks About To Go Six Feet Under?

You might find yourself crossing a picket line if you're in the unfortunate position of needing to talk to a Chicago-area funeral director this week.

Contract negotiations between Teamsters Local 727 and Houston-based "death-care products and services" provider Service Corporation International (SCI) are on the verge of going six feet under. The current three-year contract covering funeral directors and drivers expires tomorrow, and they will vote to start striking on Thursday if both sides can't work it out. They will be back at the negotiating table today.

The Teamsters say SCI (I keep typing CSI by mistake) is demanding a three-year wage freeze, wage cuts for the longest-tenured employees, the elimination of employee pensions and a 30% increase in co-pay for health and welfare benefits even as it remains very profitable. A Teamster's spokesperson had this to say:

“For the largest funeral corporation in the world to try to take away its employees’ pensions is unc…

Monday Workplace News Roundup

A frantic week of interstate relocation that made me feel like Jodie Foster traveling through the wormhole in the movie Contact has finally ended. Only instead of landing on an alien planet in an alternate universe we landed in Washington DC. Oh, wait. They're kind of the same thing, aren't they?

Anyway, it's time to get back to work. Here are a few headlines catching my eye today:

Sound of silence: Is BP refusing to let its employees speak to a House panel investing the Gulf oil leak?

Good luck finding a job if you're (1) skilled; (2) live outside the EU; and (3) want to live in the UK.

Come on in: New Zealand, meanwhile, decides not to limit the number of skilled foreign workers who want to enter the country.

Unprotected text: A new Cisco survey finds employees routinely get around their companies' technology security policies and like to use unsupported applications.

Lo blow: LoJack Corp. announces a restructuring that includes laying off 46 employees.

What skills sho…

Moving Day

The moving van comes today to relocate our life to the Washington DC area and we're packing up the last of the boxes. Needless to say, it's a bit crazy and as much as I wish I could I won't be posting a Monday Workplace News Roundup today.

In fact, I won't have an Internet connection all week and will be accessing my email the same ways great-grandma did: by purchasing a cup of coffee at McDonald's or Starbuck's so I don't look like a total wi-fi leech while I check email and scan a few major news sites.

With any luck I should start blogging again on Friday. Until then, I'll be working on my just-outside-the-beltway mentality, trying to program the GPS so I can find the grocery store and wishing I'd packed some boxes better because I can't find [insert name of item]. Moving sucks.

I hope you have a great week. Catch you on the flip side!

Dad Works Hard For the Money

As we gear up for Father's Day, here comes CareerBuilder with its annual survey of full-time working dads. What's life like for them right now at work and home? Here's what 800 full-time working dads told CareerBuilder recently:
63% work more than 40 hours per week.

42% are the sole provider for the household.

37% spend two hours or less with their children on work days.

35% have missed at least two of their child's "significant events" due to work in the last 12 months.

30% bring work home on the weekends.

10% have a spouse or significant other who has lost a job, and it's leading to arguments at home for half of these dads.

9% are working a second job to provide for the family.
"Especially in tough times, working dads have to be more creative and strategic to successfully juggle both work and family commitments," said Jason Ferrara, VP Corporate Marketing at CareerBuilder and father of two. "Employers understand the importance of working dads’…

Friday Funnies: Sad But True

Let's Party Like It's 1991

We're in the process of relocating and our house is a disaster as we disembowel it. Dusty boxes we haven't seen in years populate our living room waiting to be rediscovered.

A few of these boxes contain old magazines from the late 1980s and 1990s. We're having fun reliving the good old days that constituted our now vague, life-before-kids youth (hey, we are Gen Xers). It's funny to read about what was going on back then, what people considered important and how people envisioned the future (e.g., 2003). It's interesting to see how far we've come (or not) and to discover how wrong people were in their predictions.

Case in point: I've been leafing through a copy of Time magazine dated August 12, 1991. The cover story is entitled "Busybodies & Crybabies: What's Happening To the American Character?" (some things never change...), but my favorite story is one entitled "What New Age? High-tech gizmos for home and office are readily availabl…

Will You Take Back Lunch?

Do you know that next Wednesday, June 23rd is Take Back Your Lunch Day?

What is "Take Back Your Lunch Day," you ask? No, it's not taking your food back to the deli counter because they gave you the wrong order, which I'll admit was my first guess. Rather, it's a movement to get employees to stop eating lunch at their desks. You know, to leave the cube farm, venture outside and realize the world is bigger than their inboxes. To feel the warmth of the sunshine (unless they live in Seattle or Portland) and to realize that big, yellow orb in the sky doesn't buzz like the fluorescent lighting over their desks.

From the Take Back Your Lunch website:

Take Back Your Lunch is a simple idea about reclaiming something that's rightfully yours... LUNCH.

Every Wednesday this summer, starting June 23rd at noon in Manhattan's Madison Square Park and in public parks nationwide, workers across America will be taking a collective lunch break. We are mobilizing now and need…

Office Humor: Couch Potato Drops Potato

More Business Travelers Have Roommates

Embassy Suites surveyed 700 business travelers recently to gauge travel trends.

Not surprisingly, 71% of the business travelers say they've changed their travel habits over the last year. More of them are flying coach, buying cheaper meals and looking for more reasonably-priced hotels.

But what's surprising is that more of them are willing to share a hotel room: Almost one-fifth (17%) say they're bunking with co-workers to save a few bucks.

USA Today is asking readers what they think about sharing a hotel room with a co-worker. The vast majority say they would absolutely hate it. In fact, some would gladly pay the difference out of pocket in order to have their own room. One commenter threatens to go on a beans and cabbage diet if his employer starts making co-workers share hotel rooms. Hah.

I can see his point, though. The last thing anyone wants to do after a long day of work far from home is make conversation with a co-worker who is trimming his nose hair and wearing Simp…

Happy Flag Day!

Today is Flag Day in the United States.

Flag Day dates back to 1885, when a 19-year-old Waubeka, Wisconsin teacher named Bernard John Cigrand asked his students to write an essay about what the U.S. flag meant to them. The movement grew from there, and eventually June 14 was designated as national Flag Day.

So if you have a flag, let it fly.

Visit the National Flag Foundation's website for a history of Flag Day and a listing of events nationwide.

This Pretty Much Sums Things Up

Monday Workplace News Roundup

Here are a few headlines catching my eye today:

Food fight: Four men ordering lunch at a Wendy’s drive-thru window in Kalamazoo, Michigan find a mistake in their order and throw the food at the drive-thru employee, who pelts them with sodas and French fries.

All the same: Illinois State Treasurer and U.S. Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias signs an executive order extending family and medical leave benefits to gay and lesbian employees of the Illinois Treasurer's office.

Card trick: Utah is allowing private employers to pay employee salaries using pay cards.

Going up: A PriceWaterhouseCoopers study finds 43% of companies will ask employees to pay $400 or more in medical deductibles this year, compared to only 25% of companies in 2008.

Finnish lines: Well, at least the banks in Finland are lending to consumers and businesses.

Shark bite: A revised settlement for sick 9/11 workers is increased to $712.5 million. The lawyers will still get 25% of it, though.

In a rut: Rutgers University wil…

Is Creativity Killing Your Job Search?

Job seekers are finding creative ways to catch the eye of hiring managers.

Almost one-quarter (22%) of hiring managers in a new CareerBuilder survey say job seekers are using unusual methods to get their attention. It's a 10% increase over 2008.

CareerBuilder surveyed 2,778 hiring managers and HR people, who gave some examples of the creative ways job seekers have gotten their attention lately:

* The job candidate brought in a DVD of his former boss giving him a recommendation.

* Candidate applying for a casino table game position came into my office and started dealing on my desk while pretending to talk to players, which showed me her guest service skills.

* Candidate sent in a letter that explained how to solve an issue our company was having with a certain type of technology.

* Candidate who was a prospective teacher brought in a box of props to demonstrate her teaching style.

* Candidate came prepared with unique business cards featuring our logo and a self-introduction brochure.

Where Have You Gone, Exxon?

I've been watching TV coverage of the ongoing BP oil leak and like everyone else, I wonder when BP will seal the well and how soon it will happen.

I also sit here wondering: Where the hell is Exxon?

If you're over a certain age - that is, older than 35 - you vividly remember the media coverage of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. The oily birds, the blackened beaches, the environmental devastation. You'll also remember the years of legal wrangling afterward as Exxon dragged its feet for as long as it could to avoid paying for the environmental damage it caused.

21 years later, I know Gen Xers who still won't set foot on an Exxon gas station lot much less fill up their cars there. They would rather run out of gas on a dark, lonely road than fill up at an Exxon station. They're still punishing Exxon for the sins it committed in Prince William Sound all those years ago, unable to forgive and unwilling to forget.

Now BP has superceded Exxon as the worst environ…

Tuesday Workplace News Roundup

Here are some headlines catching my eye today:

Revision decision: The Bureau of Labor Statistics says U.S. workers weren't as productive as it recently reported.

Kidding around: New college grads are turning to babysitting in heavy numbers.

Getting their Zs: A new study finds people who start work between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. tend to get the most sleep. But Americans overall are still more sleepy than Europeans.

Middle rage: The CDC reports Americans between the ages of 45 and 54 are now the most likely to commit suicide. The researchers say they don't know why this is happening, but I suspect job loss combined with kids, a mortgage, mounting bills and an upset spouse just might play into it.

Boob tube: Did Sarah Palin get a boob job? This question is burning up the Internets today.

Detour route: BP is buying search terms such as "oil spill" on Google and Yahoo. CNBC, meanwhile, is already casting the BP movie.

Chinese iPhone manufacturer Foxconn claims its workers are killing…

Are FedEx Truck Drivers Really Pilots?

In 1996, Congress allowed FedEx Express to classify its truck drivers, sorters, loaders and un-loaders as airline workers under the Railway Labor Act.

The Teamsters don't like the classification, in part because it makes it harder for employees to form unions. The Teamsters want the rule changed so these employees fall under the same rules governing package delivery employees at FedEx's competitors:

FedEx Express wants Congress to think its truck drivers are actually airline pilots. Why? Because the company doesn't believe it should have to be subjected to the same rules and regulations that all other package delivery companies follow.

As a reward for large political contributions to a few key lawmakers many years ago, Congress created a special set of rules that would apply only to FedEx Express and none of its competitors - essentially using its power to give FedEx Express a competitive advantage over others in the industry.

Today, all package delivery companies, inclu…

So What's Your Personal Brand?

You're sending out resumes and getting nowhere. You wonder why employers aren't biting. You have the experience, the skills, a sharp resume. Landing an interview shouldn't be a problem. So what is the problem?

Your personal brand could have something to do with it. Everything is branded today, including job applicants. Think about the products you use and why you started buying them in the first place. There was something memorable about each product that piqued your interest to delve a little further, try it out (or on) and buy it.

Employers who are going through hundreds of resumes are no different. Of course, they're dealing with human beings instead of razors and soap, but the basics are the same. They're looking for people who pique their interest and make them want to hire.

It might be hard to think of yourself as a product, but that's what you are to a potential employer. The last thing you want to be is unsellable inventory that's sitting on the shelf …

My Thoughts On Life In the Triangle

I've got Carolina on my mind lately. We've lived in "The Triangle" of North Carolina for more than a decade and I'm reflecting on our time here. As we get ready to move, I'm thinking about all the things I've enjoyed, all the things I'll miss and, well, the things I won't miss.

"The Triangle" - or "Research Triangle" - is otherwise known as Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill. The three major universities UNC (Chapel Hill), Duke (Durham) and NC State (Raleigh) form a triangle shape on the map, hence the name. Overall, life has been very good here. The lifestyle is laid back and the weather is nice. It's a comfortable existence without too many complaints. But if you're thinking of moving here, there are a few things you need to know. Every area has its pros and cons, and the Triangle is no different.

So what are the good things about life in the Triangle? Here's my list:

1. The weather. We get more than 300 days of sun. It'…

Wednesday Workplace News Roundup

Here are some headlines catching my eye today:

Band-aid solution: If your workers are committing suicide, then offer them a 30% pay raise. Meanwhile, Foxconn's Chinese factory workers keep killing themselves.

It's a keeper: The New York Senate passed a groundbreaking bill yesterday mandating overtime pay and at least one day off every week for the state's 200,000 housekeepers, nannies and domestic workers.

I don't do windows: Google has stopped using Windows and now Microsoft has something to say about it.

Purple haze: City workers in Mississauga, Ontario are in trouble for allegedly hazing fellow co-workers by beating them up.

April showers: Challenger Gray and Christmas reports today that U.S. employers fired pretty much the same number of people in May as they did in April.

Medical issue: Are medical residents employees or students? And should they have to pay Social Security taxes? The U.S. Supreme Court will decide.

On the run: Police in California are searching for a p…

Wednesday Warblings: Market This!

I don't think Paul Revere is around but maybe someone from Paul Revere and the Raiders would be available?

Workplace Diva Is Moving!

The Workplace Diva is relocating to Washington DC in a few weeks.

I'm not sure why I'm referring to myself in the third person with an article in front of my name, but that's the deal.

The website address will stay the same. My family and I, however, will be moving to Somewhere In the Greater Northern Virginia Metro Area, where I will be dealing at first with the small details related to relocating. You know, unpacking boxes, finding an Internet provider, deciding whether the sofa looks better here or there and hoping the Virginia DMV will let me have a MACACA vanity plate for my car. Fingers crossed.

Once I'm settled, I hope to hit some labor hearings on Capitol Hill and otherwise provide you with workplace news and random insights. I'll just have to find the grocery store first, as well as the nearest Metro stop. Wish me luck.