Archive for October, 2013

Die Fledermaus

October 25, – November 10

 

Prince Orlofsky’s costume ball-the most coveted invitation of the year-drives the action of this urbane farce by Johann Strauss.

Anniversary Dinner at Étoile

November 01 – November 09

Join Chef Philippe Verpiand in celebrating the 1 year anniversary of his authentic French restaurant, Étoile Cuisine et Bar! Chef Philippe has crafted a special four-course menu for the occasion, and will be offering it for your dining enjoyment 

estates theaterGhost Tour Haunted Heights

September 30 – December 23

Haunted Heights Ghost Tour takes you on a 90 minute fascinating walking tour through the historic and haunted Heights district featuring the spirits “living” within the fine Victorian homes. 

Hill Country Love Affair: Interpretations of a Texas Heartland

October 18 – November 16

In Painting the Texas Hill Country, William Reaves Fine Art offers a stunning exhibition that examines artists’ interpretations of the storied Texas Hill Country. 

International Quilt Festival

October 31 – November 03

The International Quilt Festival Houston is a premier trade event for the textile and quilts industry in the US. More than 1,000 antique and contemporary quilts, original cloth dolls and wearable art are on display at the George R. Brown Convention Center. 

Lone Star Rally

October 31 – November 03

Lone Star Rally is the largest 4 day Motorcycle Rally in North America! Vendors, Entertainment, Music, Bike Shows, Food and More! 

4th Annual J/Fest Southwest Regatta

November 2 – November 3

Open to all J/Boat owners, their crew, family and friends, races will be held on Galveston Bay. The City of Seabrook is the Platinum Level Sponsor and many of the Seabrook Hotels, Bed and Breakfasts will be offering attendees special room rates, and many discount coupons for food and entertainment. Many fleets have chosen this venue to host One Design circuit stops, and regional events for their fleet

Texas Renaissance Festival

October 12 – December 01

The Texas Renaissance Festival is an interactive theme park that embraces different eras, including the 16th century and beyond. The 55-acre theater is filled with live entertainment, food

 HCP – Master Class – Zen and the Art of Photography with Douglas Beasley

November 08

You don’t have to practice or even understand Zen to join HCP for this powerful weekend of exploring new ways of seeing and making photographs that come from a more personal and intimate place, using spirituality as a creative force.Nov 2013 Calendar 2

Houston Hoedown

November 08

Houston Square Dance Hoedown Square Dance Line Dance Round Dance Clogging and much more Hunter Keller from Billings, Montana calling with Randy Preskitt of Everett, Washington cueing.

Carnival ‘Round the Central Figure

November 07 – November 23

Mildred’s Umbrella Theatre Company proudly presents the Houston premier of Carnival ‘Round the Central Figure by Diana Amsterdam.  

Hike & Seek Houston

November 09

Take Your Kids for a Walk on the Wild Side Hike & Seek nature event sponsored by National Wildlife Federation November 9, 2013 National Wildlife Federation (NWF), America’s largest conservation organization, is pleased to announce the inaugural Hike & Seek™ event at Cullinan Oyster Creek Park, Sugar Land, Texas.

Chicago

November 12 – November 17

This triumphant hit musical is the recipient of six Tony Awards®, two Olivier Awards, a Grammy® and thousands of standing ovations. A sensational tale of sin, corruption and all that jazz, it’s no surprise that Chicago has wowed audiences from Mexico City to Moscow, from Sao Paulo to South Africa

Fashion Houston 2013

November 12 – November 15

Collections from an international cadre of designers will strut the runway at the Wortham Center this fall. Among them: Nicole Miller, Johnny Talbot, Marios Schwab and Deane.

West Ave Wednesdays

August 14 – November 13

Indulge the second Wednesday of each month at West Ave Wednesdays, where guests are invited to sate their shopping appetite at West Ave’s bevy of boutiques. 

Djembe and the Forest of Christmas Forgotten

November 14 – December 22

Aga, king of Abahu, gives the call of Christmas at the Royal Christmas Festival ( a three hundred year old tradition), by playing the Christmas Djembe (African drum) on Christmas day  in the festival square.

Fresh Beat Band

November 14

Don’t miss your chance to see the Fresh Beat Band!

Junior League Holiday Market

November 14

Don’t miss the 11th Annual Junior League Holiday Market, November 15-17th at the Woodlands Waterway Marriott. The Market will feature over 100 unique merchants selling specialty holiday items, home accessories, clothing, gourmet foods, jewelry and much more. 

A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story of Christmas

November 15 – December 26

Houston’s seasonal favorite the Houston Press described as having “Spectacular London sets … the inimitable Dickens’ tale – spiced with the usual fog and an unusual twist on the ghosts past, present and future.”

 Nov 2013 Calendar 312th Annual Festival of Lights

November 16, – January 04, 2014

As the largest holiday lighting events on the Gulf Coast, the Festival of Lights receives over 125,000 visitors, many of whom have made the festival their own holiday tradition.

Rienzi and Bayou Bend Host Free Family Day

November 17

Families can get two-for-one on Sunday, November 17, when both house museums host Family Days. At Rienzi, Fall’s Finest celebrates the season with various performances, art workshops, gallery games and a garden scavenger hunt on the grounds of the mansion.

Travaasa Austin’s Second Annual Farm to Table Harvest Dinner

November 17

Travaasa Austin presents the second annual Farm to Table Harvest Dinner benefiting Urban Harvest.

Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

November 21

This annual service brings together leaders and members of many faiths to offer prayers of thanksgiving. All are welcome. A reception on the plaza follows the program.

Theta Charity Antiques Show

November 21

One of the best known and oldest high quality Antiques Shows in the country. Top dealers from through out the USA come to this beautiful show; in its 61st year.

8th annual WHAM (Winter Holiday Art Market)

November 22 – November 24

One of Houston’s favorite artists’ enclaves opens up for a weekend of great shopping. The event will feature items made by more than 60 local artists including jewelry, sculpture, photography, paintings, clothing and more.a couple skating

Ice at Discovery Green

November 22 – February 02

Ice skating returns and its bigger than ever! Skate among the downtown skyline at Discovery Green’s now 7,716-sq. ft. outdoor rink in the heart of Texas.

Kirk Franklin’s Gospel Brunch at House of Blues

November 24 

Grammy Award-winner Kirk Franklin has joined forces with House of Blues to produce a dazzling transformation of Gospel Brunch, our legendary dining and live music show.

Harry Potter Parody

November 26

The ultimate challenge of condensing all seven Harry Potter books and a special game of Quidditch into 70 hilarious minutes.

Pop Shop Houston: Indie Craft Fair, Art, and Music Festival

November 29 – November 30

Ditch the lines. Ditch the malls. Turn Black Friday into Rainbows at Pop Shop Houston. Shop and support independent, local makers. We’ll have free crafty and science workshop areas, bands, Photo Moto Mobile Photo Booth, a VIP lounge, cocktails, an arcade, children’s story time with local authors, crafting for kids, and more! 

2013 has seen results of research by many companies and trusted sources show prove of ten major trends in the workplace that affect the working sector of this world. There is the usual shift in generations along with an increase in free

lancing and yet we still have a gap in needed skills. When you can understand these trends, you gain a professional leg up on the perspective needed to make the right career choice for yourself. A review of these ten trends can make you more are educated and allow you to make informed business decisions: 

The Millennials Will Prosper

Every day we see reports about how bad the economy is and how the unemployment is at it’s highest when it comes to the Gen Y group. The trends are showing that this group will begin to find gainful employment within the next year. With 30% of them becoming employed this year and see an increase every year for the next 5 to 10 years. The baby boomers will be retiring, thus giving room for the millennials to bring new life into businesses by making rapid changes in policies. 102813_top_trends_2013 3

Work From Home Will Be The Norm

To work from home has become more common and will become the mainstream. Where companies once didn’t trust their employees to work from, they are now seeing the cost saving benefit for both them and the employees. When employees are given more flexibility, they become more productive. Allowing employees to work from is quickly replacing giving raises. 

Employee Engagement Will Be The Focus

Even with jobs as scarce as they are, employers are not able to retain their staff. This is becoming a major expense and to cut that expense, 2013 saw companies are focusing more on their employees satisfaction in the workplace. This doesn’t necessarily mean financially either as mentioned above, working from home is a big plus for many employees. 

Baby Boomers Are Retiring

We saw the start of the baby boomer generation reach retirement this year and now the workplace demographics has shifted. As they retire, this leaves positions for the Gen X and Gen Y to take take hold, especially in leadership positions. What we will see in 2014 is which of those generations will be the more dominant one. 

Companies Are Embracing Intrapreneurship

The Y Generation is all about being independent and doing their own thing. Companies are seeing that generation’s need for start-ups and intrapreneurship and offering programs to help them take off. With a team built from co-workers, an employee with an idea has the benefit to present the idea to company executives and show their abilities. . 

Freelance Work Is Blooming

2013 followed suit with the Gen X and Gen Y wanting to be their own by boss by going out there and freelancing their skills and talents. There is an abundance of freelancers now and there is no end in sight for that to grow even more. Experts estimate that there will be millions of freelancers, or more, by this time next year. Companies will begin hiring freelances for specific jobs instead of hiring full time staff. This will be a money saver for them with less overhead such as office space and benefit packages.  

Gap In Skills Are A Concern

This year, it is reported that more than 12 million people are unemployed and there are almost 4 million openings. There are over 600,000 unfilled jobs according to statistics of American manufacturers. They have 600,000 unfilled positions and American companies can not fill these positions. As new group of talented workers join the workforce, this gap in skills will shrink as the schools will work with companies in training those up and coming with the skills that are needed most. 

Internal Promotion Is High

Companies spend almost twice as much to hire from outside than to promote from within. With lack of opportunity a major concern for the millennials and companies more aware of the expense to hire externally, that will help the retention fact mentioned earlier. However, it will close possibilities for job seekers out there. 

Employees Become Unofficial Recruiters

Companies have began to use their in-house talent that is on the payroll to do their recruiting. Employees can get the notice out there that their employer is hiring via the many social sites, thus saving the company money on recruiting. As well, companies are using their own websites to do recruiting as well. 

102813_top_trends_2013 1Women Are Outpacing Men

Studies have shown that women have more education than men now and with one million women entering the workplace this coming decade, they are beginning to take the leadership roles that were once held only by men. 2013 saw more women break that proverbial glass ceiling than ever before and 2014 will likely see even more. 

 

Yes, you always smile while on a in-person interview of course, they prospective employer is sitting across from you. But do you smile when you’re on a phone interview? Unfortunately, the phone interview is a key step in the process of job searching today. Even more unfortunate, many job seekers overlook this important step and underestimate just how important it is and how much power it has in getting to the in-person step of the interview process.

102813_phone_interview 1Today, with the wide range of people in the job market, the phone interview is just as important and needs to be taken just as serious as when you are in an in-person interview, if not more. While how you’re dressed doesn’t affect the interviewer’s judgement and opinion of you, you still need project a friendly, professional appearance with the sound of your voice and how you conduct yourself. Clear Choice Staffing Solutions offers you some tips for your next phone interview and if you follow these, as well as utilize your common sense, you will be more likely to make it to the next step .. the in-person portion of the interview process.

Prepare: In many cases, you’ll be warned in advance of a phone interview, but if you’re not, you still need to be prepared just as you do for an in-person interview. You should have a area where you are ‘working’ at finding a job, such as your home office, bedroom. It needs to be a quiet area where there is limited, preferably no noise and no interruptions.

You should have your resume on hand as well as a computer with internet access and of course, a telephone. If you have only a cell phone, make sure you are able to get good reception without dropped calls. Your cell phone should be charged and we recommend having the charger on hand and plugged in just in case you start getting low battery signal.

Before your scheduled phone interview, have the website up of the company you’ll be interviewing with. If the phone interview is spontaneous, without warning, you should have a record of all the places you have sent your resume and that list should include company name, contact person name, phone number and website. Once you know the name of the company that is calling, pull up the website so that you have anything and everything available to you about them. You should do your homework on the places you’re sending resumes to so that you can be ready at a moment’s notice. Trust us, they have done their homework on you.

Have a list of set questions to ask when the phone interview turns to you and they interviewer asks “Do you have any questions?”. Refer to our recent blog for help on the questions that will make you a stand out candidate. Don’t give yourself the excuse “I sent out too many resumes to do do this homework step” because you haven’t sent out near the amount of resumes that this potential employer has received and they are prepared to interview you. ‘Game Match’ should be your goal here.

Distractions: As we stated above, you need to be a quiet area with no interruptions  This is not only so that you can concentrate and focus on the phone interview, but so the the interviewer can hear you and only you. If they hear a radio or television in the background, they may wonder if you can even hear them. This includes making sure the pets are outside, the kids are quiet, or not even there is best, and anyone in the house knows that if the door is shut, do not disturb. This also means interviewing at your local McDonalds, Starbucks or any other free WIFI location. 102813_phone_interview 2

The interviewer on the other end needs to know that this phone interview is just important to you as getting an offer from them. In all fairness, if they called unexpectedly and you don’t have it all together, ask if you can schedule a set time and offer to call them back, or let them know a good time for you, then make it a good time.

Smile: And sit up with good posture. Since the person on the end can’t see you, your resume and how you sound is all they have to work with and these things make a difference in how you sound over the phone. Your voice should be friendly, professional and warm. Without distractions and interruptions as we just covered, you can be totally engaged in the conversation with nothing but 100% interest in the person you’re speaking with and the position they have open.

Speak Clear and Slow: This goes hand in hand with Smiling. For most of us, we talk faster and run our words together when we’re nervous. When we do that in person, it is easier for the interviewer to understand, however, over the phone, it’s not easy and if they can’t understand you, the interview will most likely get cut short and your resume is placed on the bottom of the stack. This is especially important if the position you are applying for will have phone responsibility. Don’t hold the phone too close to your mouth and keep your hands away from the speaker. These things can muffle your words. Talk slow and steady and remember, they are taking notes on the other end, just as you should be too.

102813_phone_interview 3Time: Phone interviews are sometime quick and to the point and other times, they can last just as long as an in-person interview. Part of speaking slow and steady is to give the interviewer the impression that you have time for them and this interview. When you seem in a a hurry or rushed, they will get the impression that you really aren’t interested in the position.

Remember: The phone interview will determine if you are going to be invited for an in-person interview. Do not take the phone interview casual and lightly. Instead, take it as an important business meeting. Because that is exactly just what it is, an important business meeting.

Another tip to offer, more and more companies are using Skype and webcams to conduct interviews. This is even more common if you are out of state or in another country. Should your phone interview actually be via Skype, how you appear will make as much an impression as if you were doing an in-person interview. With that being said, dress as if you are going on an in-person interview. Business suit or attire appropriate for the position, combed hair, make-up and/or shave.

woman with a black binderEvery one that has ever looked for a job hates that part of an interview when the employer ask “Do you have any questions for me?”. Let’s be honest …as a prospective job candidate, you simply want to ask the questions that make you look and sound smart. However, you need to take this opportunity to reverse the interview and find out as much as you can about this company as an employer.

So just what kind of questions should you ask? Well, they should certainly be more than just ‘When is pay day” and “What hours will I be working?”. To be the candidate that stands out above all others, we offer 5 questions that will not only make you look smart, but you can learn something about this prospective employer too:

In my first three months here, what would you like to see me accomplish?

This shows them not only want to be hired, but you plan on hitting the door full speed and you’ll get to know the organization as you go. You’re coming on board to make a difference quick.

With your current top performers, what are their most common attributes?

This shows them that you planning on being there for the long haul and want to know what their long tenured employees have done to do the same. Is it long hours, a creative method or the ability to find those new customers in unknown markets? This indicates that you want to fit in and you want to be a top team player.

What drives results for the organization?

This lets them know that you are an investment and you want to make sure you are giving them as much ROI as possible. Meaning, they are getting what they are paying for from you. A great candidate will want to know what is going to make a difference for the company that will help them succeed.

What kind of things do the employees do when they aren’t working?

This may not be an easy question for the interviewer to answer, so they may only have general answer for you, but it will show them that you want to fit in with the team.

What is the company’s plan on dealing with ……… ?

No matter what industry a business is in, they all face challenges at some point. It may be technological or more competitors in the market and for sure, the economy is constantly shifting these days. As a prospective job candidate, you want to know this prospective employer is aware of these things and they have a plan of action in place.

So as you prepare for your next interview, these 5 questions will show the prospective employer that you want to know not only what are their plans for the company, but for you as well. Don’t ask just the questions that are all about you, but more in depth, because in the long run, the answers to those questions are all about you too. 

business meetingIt is crucial to the success of your company to know that a prospective candidate will fit well as an employee. The question is, how can you tell before you hire them? Sitting on either side of the interview table is difficult and for the person conducting the interview, you know going in that many who are on the other side of the table often know how to answer the questions.

The problem is however, they interview better than they work. Here we provide you a process and three questions that will narrow down your list of prospective employees easy and quick. Ask the following three questions starting with the first job listed on their resume and then move to each job listed. Make it quick, don’t ask for details – pause long enough after each question for a short answer only.

1. How did you hear about that job?

2. Before you started, what did you like about it?

3. Why did you leave that job?

These 3 questions tell you something about the prospective candidate that you most likely never would have found out otherwise. Why just these 3 questions? What can these 3 questions tell you about a candidate?  A lot ….. 

How did you hear about that job?

Since most people find their jobs in general postings, on job boards, at job fairs or from online listings, you can’t hold that against anyone. However, if they answer this question the same on every job they have held, it is possible that this person doesn’t know what they want to do with their life.

They are simply just looking for a job of any type and really doesn’t care if it’s for your company or the folks next door. You can make them an offer, hire them on the spot and most likely in no time, they are surfing those job boards and online listings, again.

Plus, if at no time they did not get a job because somebody they worked with before referred them to a job, they probably aren’t somebody that develops a bond or trust with associates. They don’t build relationships with their coworkers or give an impression of being competent. When there isn’t anyone they have worked that has been willing to stick their neck out and give them a recommendation, this is a red flag.

Before you started, what did you like about it?

This question should be answered with reason that indicate they appreciated the environment they were in for the growth and learning experiences. Responses such as “It was a great opportunity for me to …. “ or “It was the stepping stone for me to get introduced into this industry and get my career started.”from these answers you will know that they know the best environment for them to be successful in and what challenges and motivates them.boss man shouting

Why did you leave that job?

They may have had been offered a better opportunity, which can also mean more money most times. Or perhaps they didn’t  get along with their immediate supervisor or a fellow employee. You shouldn’t judge this candidate on those answers and do not ask for details. Let that come naturally from the candidate. You should stay with the 3 questions and take notes accordingly. By doing so, you’re making it an open interview situation and they are more likely to be candid with their answers.

With your simple, open-ended questions, the candidate will be more likely to bring up any disagreements or issues, during which time you make notes of things that concern you for follow up later. You’ll learn how, or if, this candidate is a team player and can take responsibility with professionalism you expect and need. Are they able to take ownership that a problem was on their side? If they have a pattern of leaving a job because of a boss, chances are they will have problems with you as well.

A fourth question falls into play here if you are interviewing for a position that will be responsible for interviewing and hiring staff.

How did you find the people you’ve hired in the past and how many have you hired?

When you are interviewing for a position that will have people reporting to them, you want somebody that had other employees referred candidates to them, not somebody that only hired from other sources all the time. If employees are sending their friends or x-coworkers to them, that’s a good indication that they are a good leaders.

 

These 3 questions should be what your interview consist of and will bring out so much about a candidate that you need and want to know. Stick with these questions and save the request for details during the follow up interview

Man with box and hula hoopYour company has an opening in Accounting and you’ve placed the standard ads on various job boards, following the standard protocol. You’ve gone through this process many times and always get a good assortment of candidates. Hired a few that turned out to be great choices and are still with you today. Even hired a few that weren’t so great after all too. All-in-all though, you’ve had good success.

The candidates have arrived in various states of shapes, various states of experience, but usually in what it considered proper interview attire. The men arrive in suits and ties, the women in suits and heels. They bring portfolios or resumes with a friendly smile and strong handshake as well as a well rehearsed interview Q&A to offer.

Then all of the sudden you get a gentlemen that comes to interview in what appears to be his Halloween costume. Dressed like Spiderman or The Green Lantern. He hands you a Monoply property deed card with his resume in the form of a website printed on the back. You keep looking around for that hidden Candid Camera because this has to be a joke, right?

Or maybe it is a prospective candidate that has given up hope of getting a job the standard way and has decided to take extreme measures? Believe it or not, there are some unemployed people out there taking desperate measures in order to land a job. We have seen those who walk the streets advertising themselves wearing a sandwich board and handing out their resumes. There have been stories of those who have actually placed themselves up for bid in an auction.

When somebody has been unemployed for an extended length of time, and for all of us, that could be various lengths depending on your financial situation, you have to look at what you’re doing wrong. After reading books, attending seminars, webinars, taking how-to-interview classes and have sent out countless resumes, all to no avail, you begin to think that there is just a black hole where resume is going. This all leads you to doing what you have to do, desperate times call for desperate measures.

So The Green Lantern got your attention, no doubt. His resume is thorough (he had a full size resume under his cape) and once you got past the costume antics, he gave a great interview. His experience is right on target just as his education and skills. His references checked out, his background was impeccable. Would you hire him?

What kind of employee will this guy make for your company? Will he be a team player or will he be a clown that seeks to get attention, and is successful in doing so, thus distracting the rest of the team from their appointed tasks? Is this the type of person you want on your team, will be they be good for the company or bad news? Well if your clientele are serious, straight laced type, somebody that is as outward as The Green Lantern guy may clash. However, if your company and the industry you’re in needs people that are attention grabbing, fun seeking with creative energy abounding, this could be your man.

Still you may wonder, why isn’t he hired yet? Why didn’t he just send in his resume like the last 200 prospects and go through the normal process? Well he may ask you “Would you have noticed me if I did?”. You should as yourself that as well … would you have noticed him had he just did the normal thing? Maybe, maybe not. With that being said, what did you learn about The Green Lantern with this approach?

Well you learned something about his personality and that he is willing to go to great extremes to get what he wants. This is great for sales position for sure, and if you think about it, any position on your team could benefit from that employee that is willing to do whatever is necessary to get his job done for the benefit of the company.  

102213 stay healthy 1 Fall comes and winter is right behind it with cold, uncomfortable days. Our daily routines are affected and so is our body. We’re confined to the inside around others and that increases our chance of picking up germs, thus catching a cold or the flu is increased too. Then comes the missed days of school, work and sometimes even holiday gatherings.

Or we should miss those days if we are sick. Too often, our classmates, co-workers and others still show up, coughing and sneezing and sharing their misery, and germs, with us. However, we don’t have to accept this as a matter-of-fact and just suffer through the season. The crew at Clear Choice Staffing Solutions want to help you make this winter the healthiest ever and offer the following things we can do to protect ourselves and those around us and stay healthy all winter long.

First and foremost … wash your hands. Germs spread like a wildfire in summer. Washing germs away is one of the best ways to keep yourself healthy as well those around you, especially if you’re the sick one. Think of everything you touch during the course of a day …. door handles, door knobs, handrails, telephones, grocery carts. Everything you touch, somebody else has touched it too. They may not have been sick, but they may not wash their hands and they have touched things that sick people have touched.

When possible, push doors open with your body or use the backside of your hands. If you have to pull a door open, try to use a gloved hand or pull your sleeve down over your hand. Keep your hands away from your face. If you cough or sneeze, cover your face then wash your hands. Keeping hand sanitizer with you at all times is helpful in keeping germs at bay.

Dress warm. Some of us are warm blooded and others are cold nature  Either way, you should dress to preserve the optimal temperature for your body. Loose, layered clothing is always recommended. Layered clothing is recommended , this way you can shed a layer here and there as you warm up, then put them back on if you get too cool.

Loose clothing is best during the winter because pockets of air in between them will keep you cozy and warm. Keep your feet dry and warm. Tight shoes and thick soles are not the best during cold weather. If your feet do get wet, change your socks and shoes immediately. As soon as you get home from school or work, change your socks and shoes.

Speaking of winter, holidays and rich, tasty foods ….. It is tempting to sit and eat all those starches and sweets, but it’s not doing your body any favor. Try to maintain a healthy diet during the winter. The more colorful your diet, meaning more fruits and vegetables, the better your body will ward off colds and the flu. Red and yellow foods are mood enhancers, so when you get the winter blahs, go get some corn or strawberries!

Being indoors more, we have a tendency to become dehydrated. Combat this by drinking plenty of water and other beverages such as green tea which is full of antioxidants. Antioxidants strengthen the immune system and helps keep skin moist. 102213 stay healthy 3

Exercising during the winter is more important than during the summer. One reason is because we tend to get lazy in the winter. We stay indoors, around the fireplace, watching movies and eat. The holiday foods and just snacking, we eat. Studies have shown that when we stay active during the winter, we are better able to ward off colds and flu.

Even when it’s too cold, nasty and wet outside to jog or walk, get some exercise and head to the mall. Some malls open early for walkers. They aren’t crowded then and you can get a good fast paced walk going, which burns more calories than the slow mall shopping walk does. Join the local YMCA or YWCA, exercise club or gym and use the indoor swimming pool or weight room. Join an exercise class or just by yourself a stationary bike or tread mill and exercise at home. No matter how you do it – just stay active!

Winter is wet and for this part of the country, it means ice and snow. The cautious person is the safe person. Take the time to clear walkways with de-icer products, cat liter is a great product for the front porch and steps. This is also the time of year that we need to watch the air quality and humidity levels in our homes and offices.

If you haven’t already, replaced the air filters and call a professional contractor to come check the air ducts. When the humidity level isn’t right, there is an increase in allergies, dry and scratchy throats and increase in colds and infections. Wintertime we keep doors and windows closed, this minimizes your home or office breathing which keeps germs inside. This increases allergy, asthma and chance for colds and hay fever. This is a bad time for the respiratory system and the increase of carbon monoxide poisoning is high. Make sure your fireplace and furnace are in proper working order. 

102213 stay healthy 4Believe it or not, there is a disease that comes from winter weather. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD for short. Winter is gloomy and long, thus our mental state of being is affected. Thus the need for exercise as we have discussed earlier. You should also lighten up your home or office as well.

Because we tend to keep blinds and shades drawn during the winter to keep the cold air out, install brighter light bulbs and maybe add some lights to the rooms in your home. The brighter the room, the higher the levels of your dopamine and energy, which keep you mentally healthy. Daylight helps our immune system and fends off depression. You may even consider taking a vitamin D supplement to take place of the sun rays you’re missing.

With just a few extra steps and a few precautions, we can enjoy the winter weather and remain healthy. When we’re healthy, we’re more productive at school, work and home. Don’t let the winter weather bring you down!

 

 

young business man working in an officeTimes are hard right now and jobs are scarce  So who would quit a job right now? It may surprise business owners, managers and supervisor just how many of their employees are looking for another job right now. Too often when times are hard, as they are right now, employers get a ‘big head’ so to speak, that their people are grateful to have a job and will stay regardless.

Not necessarily so folks. However, as an employer, you can remain naive and be surprised when your top producer hands in their notice, or leaves without a notice. Or you can read this article and learn some things that can give you an indication that somebody’s not happy and the opportunity to make repairs that will keep them on board. Because let’s face – times are hard right and the whole process of interviewing, hiring and training a replacement is costly.

Low Pay: Are you paying your employees at the going market rate? Have you gave raises to keep up with the cost of living? Or are just assuming that whatever salary you started them with and they accepted is still okay? Simply because they accepted the job at a low wage doesn’t mean they are going to be happy there forever. Most of us are working for a purpose and it’s not for giggles and kicks.

You Are A Jerk: Are you nitpicking your employees? Do you scream and yell at your employees? Do you belittle your employees by talking down to them? We all know that jerks are the other guy, not us, right? You may have become a jerk without realizing it if you are taking all the credit for your team’s success or answered yes to those questions. If you still aren’t sure if you fit the jerk description ask a friend (assuming you have any) or your partner/spouse. Self-examination is good time to time for all of us, especially the boss.

They Are In A Nightmare: This is your business and your pride and joy. You don’t mind putting in long hours, endless days and even nights, working 24/7/365 if that’s what it needs to make it a go. However, your employees most likely don’t have that same drive. Their outside life is just that … outside of work. To get your employees to have the same 24/7/365 drive that you do, you’re gonna have to share the pie with them too, ie, profit sharing not just a paycheck.

LinkedIn Is Their Home Page:You’re running a business and should be busy doing that, not micro-managing and spying on your employees. However from time to time, check out their profiles on LinkedIn and notice if they have connected with several people recently that are in a hiring position, or in a place that can get them in the door for an interview. If they are spending a good amount of time updating their profile, there’s your sign they are on the market for greener pastures. Unless they are doing this on company time and company computer, you can’t really fire them for this network. Nor should you assume that’s what they are doing, especially if they are in sales. Use this for an opportunity to see what they are looking for in an employer and maybe you can salvage a good employee before they depart.

Multiple Medical Appointments: If an employee suddenly starts taking random days off, or needs an extended lunch hour, needs to leave early for a doctor appointment, these can be indications that they are interviewing elsewhere. It is also another sign that you have an opportunity to salvage the employee relationship.

We all like to think of ourselves as the perfect boss with the perfect place that people want to work. During hard times of scarce jobs though, too many of us take it for granted and give the impression that if we hired them, we did them a favor and they will be forever indebted to us. Employees aren’t family, but you shouldn’t take them for granted either.

 

????????????????????Who hasn’t been unemployed and surfing the internet for a job? Or maybe you are employed, but looking to see what else is out there? Then you see the perfect description of you, your experience, your knowledge, your skills and you think why not?

So away you go to the resume! Getting updated and checking it for mistakes. Remember your younger days where you looked for filler to make one page? Now, as you’re updating your resume, you realize that now, you have much more experience than a one page can hold. So do you revise and shorten what you have or is a two page resume acceptable now?

Well, there is no right or wrong answer here. One page, two pages, it’s subjective, and you can Google this question and get more advice than you could hope to absorb in one life time. With the digital world of today, resumes aren’t on paper any more, so is the one page resume old-school now?

Then you throw in the recently new trend here in the United States of submitting a Curriculum Vitae, better known as a CV, instead of a resume, just to make things even more confusing. For the purpose of this blog, we’ll focus on resumes and look at some suggestions here on whether one page or two page is best or a no-no:

Does Quantity Equal Quality? 

As your career evolves, as you are in the work force more and more, you start to notice that some things aren’t really relevant on a resume anymore. One example, once you have been in the workforce at in specific position for awhile, there is no need to list your daily duties for every position held. This is especially true if you have the experience and training relevant to a position you’re apply for, that will be your show case.

Early in your career on the job market, just out of school, you won’t have + years of experience or have attended seminars in your industry. Therefore, your resume may need some fluff to show you have the quality for that position, even though you don’t have the quantity yet. 

If your experience is relevant to the position and it takes up more than one page, go for it. This doesn’t mean you list every accomplishment since high school or listing every college course. So the rule of thumb here is, if your resume is going to be more than one page, it better be attention grabbing. Listing your daily responsibilities isn’t attention grabbing but seeing that you increased sales by 33% in one year or created a process that made production higher is attention grabbing.

When Your Experience and Knowledge Outgrow The Space

You have edited, changed fonts, reset margins and have impeccable content. Still, this one page resume just isn’t cutting it. Congratulations! You’ve outgrown the one page resume rule! At this time, it is okay to proceed to two pages. If it takes two pages at a type size that easy on the eye, any hiring manager is going to like you from the start.

Maybe you still don’t have two full pages, but that’s okay. This gives you plenty of room to highlight the facts and points that the hiring manager is looking for easier to find and read. When your resume is crunched up in small text and is so tightly condensed, it can look unorganized. Take the safe approach and spread your experience and knowledge over two pages instead of cramming it all on one page.

What If That Second Page Is Pretty Open?

If your second page has very little text and the reformatting tricks didn’t work for the one page theory, it’s okay to put some filler on here. However, the information should be relevant to the positions you’ve had and are applying for, they should be strategic. Here is a good placed to offer information of your hobbies, leadership, organizations and volunteer work. You shouldn’t over embellish this area, but it is a great opportunity to show prospective employers that you do you have a life outside of your employment. This gives them some idea of your personality and who you are as an individual.

In summary, in today’s digital world where resumes are emailed and attached to on-line applications, size doesn’t matter anymore. One page or two pages, the key to make sure the information is relevant and the story of you is compelling and interesting. Make it easy on the eye to read and easy to absorb and understand. 

092113_stress_jobs 2In this blog recently, we discussed 10 jobs to avoid if stress isn’t for you. Let’s face it though, work can be stressful to some degree no matter the industry or position. With that being said, the leading contribution to stress in the workplace is conflict. It is said that over 50 % of a Human Resource position is managing the dislikes and disputes between employees.

If you have never worked somewhere and went out of your way to avoid a co-worker that you have disagreements with, then you are one of the few and rare. More productivity is lost because of that very thing, employees trying to avoid co-workers, thus avoiding disagreements. You can put this in the same category of avoiding the sister-in-law you dislike by claiming a headache or sick child when she is hosting a family function at her home.

While we have a strong awareness about bullying in our schools, what you may not is that almost 35 percent of us are subject to workplace bullying. Even more surprising is that 15 percent employees have reported witnessing co-workers bulling other co-workers. Bullying in the work place poses several problems not only in the workplace itself, but for the employees personal well being too.

We offer some tips for HR, Managers and Owners that can help manage the conflicts that lead to bullying in the workplace:

There Are Two Sides To Every Story

Take the time with an open mind and listen to both sides. Each person involved should have the ability to tell their side in full, without interruption. Letting an employee vent without concern or fear of retaliation, just getting it out in the open is sometimes a big step. Often when it’s all put on the table, a solution is found. Team-building experts advise that you to make the field level and give each person equal opportunity to bring forth their side of the situation.101213 employee conflict 2

The Root Is Where The Problem Started

To develop a win-win situation, HR, Management or the Owner should mediate. While this easy to say and not so easy to do, the more you mediate conflicts, it becomes easier. The start of this is letting both sides have the opportunity to explain, in detail, their side of the story will help you in identifying the root of the problem. Perhaps it’s just two personalities that aren’t ever going to mesh or it’s two department with two different methods to reach the common goal. Either way, before you can resolve the matter, you have to get to the root of the problem. This may require separating the two conflicting employees or realign each department’s goals and accommodate their different needs.

Learn To Love Each Other

Okay, that’s a bit over the top, but as the person in charge of resolving the conflict, guide the employees involved in a direction to appreciate each other’s differencesWith any luck, after they all put their issues on the table and got it out in the open, they can have an objective view of the situation and analyze how their difference can compliment each other and work together as a team. Maybe a realignment of the employee’s roles could better utilize their individual strengths, thus minimize their differences of opinion.

For those situation where the conflict is more than two employees or is between departments or divisions, you may need to consider establishing a diversity program. This would give room to mitigate conflicts in the future before they come to the point that anyone needs mediation or mental help. Sometimes, an outside consultant can be a great help in creating such a program, customized to your company.

101213 employee conflict 3Find The Middle

No matter how epoch-making the conflict or wide the differences of opinions, there is middle ground to be found. As the mediator, you must build or rebuild a rapport and develop a base for solving problems that may come up between the two parties. Three steps to getting there are: :

  • Agree on the problem
  • Agree a worst-case situation
  • Agree on one simple change that will lead to mutual success

 

Both Sides Row Together Now

Finding a win-win-win solution needs to happen. Main thing is keeping the company goal in mind for sure, but you want to have both sides satisfied too. This most likely won’t happen with just one meeting nor will it happen overnight. It could take a few meetings of the minds and a little time to reach the point of compromise on all sides. Impose a solution that will force both side to abide by and have a plan of action that while everyone may not be 100% happy with it, can live with it. When you can include both sides the chance to participate to find a solution, they both have ownership of the problem and the solution and this will increase the chance of success.

Nothing Worthwhile Comes Easy

Find resolution for conflict is not easy by any means, even more so when dealing with two personality conflicts. You have to understand also that not all conflicts and disagreements can e resolved, but by taking a proactive approach and the appropriate steps that create a win-win solution for the employees, the big win is for your company. If we can’t resolved bullying in the workplace, how are we going to resolve it in our schools?