Posts Tagged 'Employees'

America Gets Back To Work

Last night President Obama outlined his plan to get America back to work with various infrastructure projects, tax breaks for businesses that hire and other incentives to get businesses back to hiring.  That’s great news for those of us looking for a job or a career change!  I think it is important that the President not only wants to get people working again, but also ensuring those who are working are getting a fair wage.  The economy won’t improve until we all have money in our pockets that we can spend on things other than reducing our debt or buying necessities.  We can only hope that the jobs bill is approved and implemented quickly because as the President indicated – we don’t have 14 months to wait for things to improve.

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A Poll On Unions

The debate on employee unions in this country is heating up fast!  As with my last article, I will try to remain neutral in my opinion on this particular blog.  However, this topic is sure to be a hot one during the next Presidential election.  I just added a poll to the side bar asking your opinion.  Take a quick vote – the results might be very interesting!

Unions In Todays Workforce

I’ll try not to be too political either way in the article and it shouldn’t  be difficult as I am quite torn on this topic.  Let me first state what I don’t like about Unions.  In the past some unions have taken the power of collective bargaining too far.  Through frequent strikes and other sanctions they managed to bargain for wages and benefits that were far beyond the standard for the area.  Also a work stoppage never really seems to cause inconvenience to the workers or the company – it seems the customers typically suffer the most.  I’m reminded of a big UPS strike several years ago that caused a lot of big problems for people shipping packages.  The employees and UPS managed to survive without too much disruption.  I’ve also been stranded in remote areas of the country when the airline I took to get there suddenly went on strike.  And they will typically do these strikes at the most inconvenient times for the customers.

Still – I believe there is a place for Unions in this country.  Right now the battle is being fought in teachers unions that are publicly funded.   One only needs to compare the educational rankings of union states vs non-union states to see how important they are.  Also, I don’t believe the teacher unions have over stepped their boundaries as far as compensation and benefits are concerned.  The main gripe from these states is that these are federal employees and shouldn’t be paid more than the private sector.  On this note I do disagree.  In my opinion, education is vital to the success of this country and you get what you pay for.  As for the argument that poor quality teachers can’t be fired – I believe there are ways of dealing with that issue without having to dismantle the union.  Again – just my opinion.

But what about the private sector?  Are unions good or bad?  Well I can only comment on my own state of FL where we do not have private unions except for a few national unions like UPS.  Here we have some of the lowest wages compared to similar jobs in other parts of the country.  We also have a very high cost of living by comparison to other states.  I have lived here for 20 years and have always received glowing reviews for my work (in the IT field) yet I struggle to get by with my modest lifestyle.  Through the years after more workload and no pay raise, I’ve tried several different approaches to asking for a raise.  All of them were met with very negative results from management.  The sad truth here in Florida is that they don’t care.  They know the workers have no bargaining power and so they pay the minimum they can in the market.  We also seem to be the birthplace of scam business because the cost of doing business in Florida is so much more appealing without union wages.  In my opinion, Florida could benefit from more unions.  The consumers and employees here really do need more protection from the corporations.  But it’s not likely to happen.

So there are pros and cons to unions in today’s workforce.  As I said, I don’t have a firm answer on the topic but would enjoy hearing comments from readers either way.

The Real VIP

Every organization has a very important person that you should find favor with – can you guess who it is?  Some might say the CEO, others might think the HR Director.  Another good guess is your immediate supervisor or department head.  Those are all good answers and of course it is important that you impress all of them with your talents and style.  In my opinion, however, the most important person you should have on your side is the Executive Assistant – sometimes referred to as the Executive Secretary.

You will find that Executive Assistants are typically over worked, over stressed and under paid.  They can sometimes be grumpy and short.  Still it is important to treat them with the utmost respect.  If you are like me – this isn’t a terribly difficult task.  I try to treat everyone from the CEO to the cleaning crew with the same level of respect and dignity.  It’s not an act for me because I truly believe that every organization is a team of people who without each other would not be successful.  If you view the workplace in this way it is easy to gain the respect of everyone  from the cleaning crew to the CEO – including the all important Executive Assistant.

If you work 2nd or 3rd shift, your mission to find favor with this VIP is not only more difficult but also more important.  The difficult part comes from not having the time every day to foster a good relationship with the Executive staff.  But if you play your cards right you can turn your disadvantage into an advantage.  As a 2nd or 3rd shift employee, you will see these people at the very beginning or very end of their workday.  A smile and pleasant exchange of conversation during those prime times can go a long way.  Plus, your limited exposure reduces your chances of getting too personal or saying something inappropriate.  Just be sure that every encounter is a good one and when they see your smiling face at 4pm they will unconsciously associate you with the fact they they are about to go home!

The reason your shift makes this connection more important is because you will have limited times when you will be able to speak with an executive if needed.  You will only have perhaps an hour at the beginning or the end of the day to have a meeting.  That’s when it’s important that the person with the schedule will gladly move some appointments to get your meeting set at those critical times.  Executives are typically very busy with tight schedules.  If you fall on the bad side of an E.A. – you can bet you will have a more difficult time scheduling that meeting.

So always remember – those people sitting just outside the big office might be more important than those sitting inside the office.  Be genuine, be nice, and be scheduled.

Hiring During Holiday Season

There is a perception in the job market that companies typically don’t hire during the Holiday season.  So should you wait until the new year to continue your job search?  Absolutely not – and here is why:

  • Not all companies stop hiring during this end of year season – many others actually do.  I was hired for my current tech job in mid November of last year.
  • Many companies hire temporary workers for the busy shopping season.  Not only will a temporary job provide needed  income or some extra spending money – if you prove yourself as an exceptional employee, you might be kept on after the season and possibly land a permanent job.
  • There are fewer people applying for jobs during this busy time – that means you have a better chance of getting noticed!
  • After the first of the year you will be competing with all the other people who waited to start their job search.  Now is the time to get a head start.
  • Executives have a hard time being idle.  Visiting with family might be a tad boring for them – so they just might sift through a few resumes to entertain themselves.
  • Now is a great time to do something a little extra that will get you noticed in a big way.  When you go in to apply for a job – bring a small gift with you to give to the HR person.  Some candy (not homemade) or just a card will be accepted as a thoughtful gift and not a bribe.  Even just a cheerful “Happy Holidays!” will show you in a positive light.

So while you are out and about shopping – drop off a resume on your way.  Spend some extra time on-line applying for that perfect job.  Tis the season!

Office Politics

I still have a headache from the recent election and now it’s full steam ahead to 2012.  If you work in a corporate environment , you not only have to worry about political office – but also office politics.  In every work environment you will find a constant struggle with those trying to get noticed, those that are lazy who somehow still get noticed and those that are just total kiss-ups.  Office politics are real – so what is the best way to deal with it?

First – the best way is to work 2nd or 3rd shift!  Office politics still exist on those shifts but it is much diminished.  You deal with fewer people and typically the “Big Guys” are not working those hours.  But you will still have to deal with your co-workers so my best word of advice – and I’ve said it before – is to always do the best job you can do!  Here are some other tips I recommend.

  • Always take the high road.  Politics can be nasty depending on who you are dealing with.  But I have always found that when you risk your character against someone who is ruthless, you will lose twice.   If you step on someone on the way up, they won’t try to catch you on the way down.  Further, they may get promoted to another position in the future where working with them would be very uncomfortable
  • Stand by your commitment, confidence, and achievements and you will likely get farther in the long run.
  • The above 2 suggestions are not meant to imply that you should sit back and let someone step on you on their way up.  Always be conscious of what your co-workers are up to.  If you have a ruthless person working with you – you may need to be pro-active to prevent them from taking advantage of you.
  • Always be aware that a ruthless person may be posing as a friend.  They may get close to you and talk in confidence to get information on your plans.  It’s OK to have friends in the office, but be careful what you share with them.  If you plan to talk to the boss about a big idea you have, you might consider keeping that information private.
  • If you do get that big assignment or promotion, It is OK to be happy about it but try not to gloat – especially with someone who may have been competing with you.  Be sincere and let people know that you hope they do well the next time.  Remember, you may be working with them on another project in the future.

So the short version is watch out for the bad guy – and don’t be the bad guy.  If you keep that attitude you should be able to handle most office politics situations while still looking like a great employee.

Totally Free??

We’ve all been told there is no free lunch.  Everything costs something or it could be a trick.  I’m here to change all that.  NightOwlStaffing.com really is totally free for both job seekers and employers!  Most job sites are free for job seekers but it’s the employers that pay the price to post their job openings or use graphic, logos or links.  Not so with the NightOwl!  Employers can post complete job listings with their company logos, links to their websites – even Multimedia – all totally free.

There are a few banner ads posted throughout the NightOwlStaffing website and of course we hope you find something that interests you.  But we don’t expect to make a fortune with banner ads either and no-one is required to click on them.  They will, however, help keep the site free so if you find something you are interest in feel free to support the site by clicking the link and shopping the products.  We will do our best to provide relevant links to reputable companies so you can shop with confidence.

Meanwhile the site really is totally free!  We encourage employers everywhere who may be posting job ads on other job sites -to post on NightOwlStaffing.com as well.  It can only help draw interested job candidates to your company and can also provide additional advertising for your organization – for free!

We also encourage both job seekers and employers to leave comments or suggestions on how to improve NightOwlStaffing.com.  We value your input.

Totally Free.  Who knew?