HR Specialist

Archive for February, 2010|Monthly archive page

Mistakes at Work

In Human Resources on February 22, 2010 at 10:20 am

Everyone makes mistakes, they say. Usually you can correct your error or just forget about it and move on. Making a mistake at work, however, can be more serious. It may cause problems for your employer and even affect the company’s bottom line. Repercussions will ultimately trickle down to you. Simply correcting your mistake and moving on may not be an option. When you make a mistake at work your career may depend on what you do next.

Admit Your Mistake: Tell your boss about your mistake immediately. The only exception is if you make an insignificant error that will not affect anyone. Otherwise, don’t try to hide your mistake. You will look terrible if someone else discovers it.

Present Your Boss With a Plan To Fix Your Mistake: When you go to your boss to confess your mistake, you must have a plan for correcting it. Present your plan clearly. Tell your how long it will take to implement your plan and if there are any costs involved.

Don’t Blame Anyone Else for Your Mistake: Pointing fingers won’t help anyone if you make a mistake. Encourage those who may share responsibility to follow your lead in confessing to your boss.

Apologize for Your Mistake But Don’t Beat Yourself Up: There’s a big difference between admitting your mistake and beating yourself up about it. Take responsibility but don’t berate yourself for making it, especially in public.

Correct Your Mistake on Your Own Time: If you have to spend extra hours at work to correct your mistake, don’t expect to be paid for that time. You can also use your lunch hour or come into work early.


Bad Bosses: What Kind are You?

In Human Resources on February 15, 2010 at 11:57 am

Time to Face Your Reports

The day of reckoning has arrived. Your leadership skills need an overhaul, and I’ve detailed why in the following slides. Any of these shortcomings sound familiar?

1. Don’t Know Your Job



Illustration by David Foster


You’re the invisible man, the one who doesn’t delve into the details or pitch in. You insulate yourself, telling us it’s “not my job” and to “just do it.” We know your dirty secret: You’re out of touch. It’s time to step away from your precious spreadsheets and get your hands dirty. You can’t channel talent, time, and tools if you don’t know how they’re already being deployed.

2. Don’t Listen

 car2.jpgIllustration by David Foster


We’ve seen it all. You fiddle with your BlackBerry (RIMM) when we’re speaking. You interrupt constantly to make your points. And you roll your eyes and grow impatient—unless you’re talking. No matter, you disregard our input anyway. So we’ve given up; we don’t come to you anymore. And we both suffer for it. If you want to succeed, rebuild that goodwill. It’ll require time and toil, but the best relationships always do.

3. Closed-Minded

 car3.jpgIllustration by David Foster

You’re gifted and accomplished, the best and brightest. And that has made you susceptible to pride. Now, you’re quick to reach conclusions. Everything is one-sided, with no room for discussion, differences, or dissent. You may view yourself as all-knowing, but conditions change. And talent doesn’t stand for “my way or the highway” for long. Pride goeth before a fall. Question is, can you open up and adapt before then?

4. Poor Preparation

 car5.jpgIllustration by David Foster


Another emergency meeting. Drop what you’re doing, they need it now. We’re changing direction and working late again. It’s always last minute, make it up as you go along. Maybe it fosters teamwork and creativity sometimes, but you can only cry wolf so many times. In reality, the unexpected drama reflects your inability to set expectations, plan ahead, and think it through. And it’s just wearing us down.

5. Not Building Skills



Illustration by David Foster


“People are our most important asset.” Well, it’s empty rhetoric here. Maybe you want to be hands-off or encourage self-reliance. Whatever the intent, you’re not helping us grow. And that’s your real job as a manager: to broaden our outlook, push us beyond our comfort zones, exemplify the corporate values, and focus us on learning, serving, persevering, leading, and advancing. Don’t take that responsibility lightly.

6. Overzealous

 car2.jpgIllustration by David Foster


History remembers the tyrants but rarely the subjects who did the heavy lifting. It’s no different here. You’ve created a divide-and-conquer atmosphere, all stick and no carrot, where everyone should be the same workaholic reflection of you. Eventually, your bullying and rah-rah intensity produces one question: “Why?” You may think we should be in “for life,” but what are you giving back in return for that blind loyalty?

7. Don’t Maintain Discipline

 car3.jpgIllustration by David Foster


All the workers come and go as they please, living according to their own rules. No one knows who is where or doing what, and the result is chaos. Maybe you want to be our buddy—or experience how a sweat shop atmosphere fosters only resentment. Either way, coddling does no favors to anyone. Like it or not, you need to set rules and hold people accountable.

8. Never Heard of Tact

 car4.jpgIllustration by David Foster


You always remind us that we’re replaceable and working at your pleasure. Yes, it’s your legendary bluntness. Your talent and tenure shields you from scrutiny. Sadly, your lack of self-awareness results in everyone—superiors and reports—maligning or marginalizing you. Brains take you only so far; eventually, you’ll need to build and nurture relationships. And that requires people skills: listening, charming, understanding, and compromising. Think you’re up for that?

9. Lack Influence

 car3.jpgIllustration by David Foster


It’s funny how we’re usually last to get face time and resources. Our mission is vital and performance exceeds expectations. You’d like to believe it’s jealousy, but maybe the messenger is undercutting the message. Look at your variables: appearance, body language, and speaking and writing styles. Do you always convey the image of a polished professional who can work in a team and get the job done? If you can’t, you’ll never get anyone’s ear.

10. Blindside Us


Ah, there’s nothing like a surprise. Whether you’re singling us out in public or ambushing us in private, you’re not afraid to render judgments and deliver lectures. Despite our advanced degrees and track records, you still treat us as servants. Instead of dropping the news all at once, give us fair warning when our performance doesn’t meet expectations. Always take action immediately—and discreetly.

Tomorrow’s New Hottest Jobs

In 1 on February 5, 2010 at 9:29 am

Wouldn’t it be great to know which jobs will see growing demand in the future? It sure would help with planning a career change, or even with picking a college major.

Turns out, you don’t need a crystal ball to find out. Every two years, researchers at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics create a new 10-year forecast detailing the specific occupations the government expects will grow and shrink over the coming decade. The 2008-2018 projections came out in December.

The new data is especially valuable because it includes the first year of the current economic downturn (2008). The new Occupational Outlook Handbook, which went up on the BLS Web site in mid-December, provides a first look at how specific jobs may recover — or not — over the next eight years.

Job-seekers may find the new report comforting, as BLS economists generally do expect us to pull out of our current job slump. Some broad job categories see big job growth over the next decade because they’re projected from the recession-era low in 2008. An example is construction laborers, projected to add 256,000 new jobs by 2018 as the sector recovers from its current slowdown, says Dixie Sommers, assistant commissioner of occupational statistics and employment projections.

One particularly heartening piece of news involves wages: the previous fastest-growing jobs forecast showed just four of the 10 jobs had high wages. The 2018 forecast, by contrast, lists six jobs that pay more than $70,000 per year. If you’re interested in health care, there’s lots of opportunity for you ahead — eight of the top 10 occupy some niche in the field.

Only three occupations appear on both the ’06 and ’08 top-10 fastest-growing lists — networks systems and data communications analysts, home health aides, and personal-care aides. The other seven of the top 10 are new for ’08. See these jobs listed below. Some are fairly small employment niches, but all are seeing exploding growth:

Biomedical engineer
This field’s expected growth through ’18 — a whopping 72 percent — far outstrips any other occupation. As health-care technology becomes ever more complex, demand will explode for more engineers who can combine medical knowledge with engineering principles to develop needed new medical devices and equipment. The BLS reports most have a background in another engineering specialty and additional medical training.

Financial examiner
Part of a broader trend of growth in supervisory positions, BLS foresees a 41 percent increase in demand for financial professionals who can analyze and enforce laws governing the financial and securities industries. The field is expected to add 38,000 jobs in the next decade. Most have a bachelor’s degree.

Medical scientist (excluding epidemiologists)
As technology makes it possible to delve deeply into the causes of diseases, demand for medical scientists is expected to rise 40 percent. Most have a Ph.D. in a biological science.

Physician assistant
Physician assistants work under a doctor’s supervision in big cities, or may be primary care providers in rural areas where doctors are in short supply. Apparently, more shortages are forecast as demand is set to increase 39 percent by 2018. Most physician assistants have a two-year degree on top of a bachelor’s degree.

Biochemists study living things and their chemical composition, while biophysicists study how electrical and mechanical energy impact living things. Growth is expected to exceed 37 percent. Some in this field start with a bachelor’s degree, while a Ph.D. may be needed for independent research work.

Skin-care specialist
Also known as aestheticians, skin-care specialists were No. 11 last year and made it to the top 10 at No. 8 in the 2018 projections. With expected 38 percent growth, this field is one of the quickest to get into in the top 10 — a high-school diploma or G.E.D. and a cosmetology-school certificate are all that’s required.

Athletic trainer
As America battles its obesity epidemic over the coming decade, the call for professionals who can help whip us into shape will expand like our waistlines — 37 percent, BLS estimates. Trainers usually work under a doctor’s supervision or in cooperation with other healthcare providers. Most have a bachelor’s degree, and more than half have an advanced degree, the National Athletic Trainers Association reports.