Sunday, December 27, 2009


Originally uploaded by timsamoff
Dealing with work comp claims is a part of my job duties. I had an employee who cleaned a medical office let me know that a week prior he had stuck his finger with a needle at the doctor's office. I had a lot of paperwork for him to do before I sent him to our work comp doctor. He grumbled about it and said that we should forget about it. I told him that we couldn't.

He came back over from the clinic with his paperwork. He was upset to have found out that he would have to have hepatitis tests.

His final words to me were, "All this for a little prick, huh?"

I just smiled and said "yes."

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The New Hiring Pack

We got our new corporate mandated hiring pack. We counted up how many total pages are in it. This number also includes the insurance info, the corporate values glossy pamphlet, the take home handbook, and the safety manual. There are 96 pages for each new employee to enjoy.

After the world's worst conference call (complete with stupid questions and idiots who didn't know how to mute their phones resulting in feedback), I called up my branches to make sure they understood what was going on.

They did understand. And then told me that they thought it was stupid and didn't make any sense. I reminded them of my HR mantra: "When you deal with HR, you need to leave common sense outside of the HR doorway."

Here's a smidgen of the new HR policy and hiring pack:

1. We cannot put anyone to work without ensuring that they have a clean criminal background

2. But we cannot have anyone sign the release to do the background check until after they have been offered employment

3. The release form states that they are only to give us their month and day of their birth, but not to give us their year of birth. (that reduces the chance of age discrimination)

4. We need the employee's complete birth date to do the background check and it won't be processed without the employee's year of birth

5. Our company is dedicated to being an Equal Opportunity Employer, and we have to track applicants' race

6. We can't ask an employee to disclose their race, but they can fill out an optional self-identification form

7. If they opt out of self-id, then we have to make a "best guess" as to what their race is

8. We may not actually see the applicant, but still have to determine their race.

9. We cannot use their last name when assigning them a race.

(By the way, according to the US government, a person can be considered to be Hispanic/Latino/Latina regardless of his or her ethnic background. You can be Hispanic/Latino/Latina if you culturally identify yourself with that group.

Also, if one of your parents is Hispanic/Latino/Latina, then you are that race. If your parents are a combination of other races, you are multi-racial in the eyes of the US government.)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Phone Conversation

Today my assistant, Suzette, had the following conversation on the phone:

Suzette: How can I help you?

Caller: Who have I called?

S: "name of business"

C: I don't know if this even is what I want.

S: What can I do for you?

C: I'm looking for part time work.

S: Are you available for weekends?

C: I'm really only wanting 1 day a week for maybe an hour.

S: We don't have anything like that open.

C: I stay home with the kids. My husband works. But I'd just like to leave and work for about an hour. Do you have anything like that?

S: No, we don't.

C: I have a Masters degree in Psychology. And I just don't know if being a janitor is for me.

S: If you want to be considered for openings, you'll have to fill out an application.

C: Where did I call again?

S: "name of business." Thanks for calling!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Hints For Job Seekers - #8

Pretty close to a year ago I woman in her 20's came into our office to fill out an application. After she finished, I talked to her a little bit. She noticed a picture I had of one of my dogs and she decided to tell me that she had dogs. Then she told me how she helped her 2 mixed breed dogs to mate. And she got on the floor to demonstrate what she did to help.

My gruff boss happened to stop by my office to give me something at the moment the woman was on my floor. He didn't say a word and left.

After she left, I told my gruff boss the whole story. He told me that he just thought she was some weird friend of mine.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hints For Job Seekers - #7

I'm not going to hire PopeJohnDillinger, either.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Under Where?

We have been haunted by a pair of briefs at work for a few weeks. I first noticed them outside of our office one morning when I got to work. They were in our parking lot. I told my assistant "I've warned you about leaving your underpants in our parking lot!"

A few days later the wind picked up and the briefs blew up our street and disappeared.

Then they came back.

My gruff boss said that he'd thrown them away.

But then they came back.

They were originally white, but now they are greyish. They will soon be black.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Conversation With A Former Employee

A bit more than a 2 weeks ago, I hired a new employee. 4 hours into her second day, Ms. R decided to leave in the middle of her shift. Allegedly her daughter got sick and had to go to the hospital. An unfortunate side effect to working in Human Resources is that I have grown to doubt every story I'm given. You'd think that people wouldn't lie about their kid being in the hospital, but they do. They lie about lots of things.***

So, Ms. R asked if I would consider rehiring her. I asked her why she hadn't called or stopped by to tell us what had caused her to disappear and stay away from work. Here is a synopsis of here reasons for not contacting us:

I told her that under the circumstances that I would have a hard time justifying rehiring her. I asked her what she could do to reassure me that she wouldn't no call/no show again. Here's her response:

I ended our discussion after that and wished her a happy Thanksgiving. I told her she could reapply in 1 year. I wanted to give her this advice, though:

Or better yet, this advice:

***I once had an employee call in because his father had died. A week later, his dad called wanting to talk to his son.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hints For Job Seekers - #6

I know from personal experience that it is very stressful to not have a job. It is not fun looking for a job in that situation. It is understandable that job applicants may feel a certain amount of desperation. It is hard to know if you should call the place you had an interview with to check on their hiring decision. You don't want to be annoying, but you don't want to have false hope either.

A couple years ago I had someone I was considering hiring for a janitorial position. She was honest with me about her criminal record. She had a felony conviction that showed up as "theft." She and her daughter had committed welfare fraud against Missouri in a baby sitting scheme. I was willing to not exclude her immediately, but I told her that I needed to get her background check back so that I could see what was there. I was hoping that I would be able to persuade my boss to give her a chance.

I told the applicant (I'll call her Ms. A.) that it would take at least 2 days to get the background check back. Almost immediately, Ms. A started calling me to let me know she was interested in the job. And then she called me at least 5 times a day for the next 2 days.

Somewhere around the 12th or 15th call from her, I decided that I lost interested in hiring her.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hints For Job Seekers - #5

A few years ago and in a different job than the one I have now, we received an unsolicited resume in the mail. The woman put down her skills, one of which was remaining faithful to her husband. I still have the resume somewhere. I keep it so that if I ever teach a class on resumes I will have a good example of what not to do. She also stated that she had a bad back and that she'd had to have counseling for stress due to a work related incident. People are always advised that resumes should be no longer than 2 pages in length. Mrs. X's was 5 pages long.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hints For Job Seekers - #4

It is still a little surprising that people will argue with us when they are wanting to get a job. The #1 most popular thing to argue about is if we have job openings. We say "no." They say "yes."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hints For Job Seekers - #3

I don't think I need to give any more clarification to this other than to say that someone actually did turn in an application that smelled strongly of pot.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hints For Job Seekers - #2

Once upon a time, a man came to my office with his toddler (strike 1) wanting to apply for a janitorial position. Immediately after getting an application, he asked me if I'd watch his daughter while he went to the bathroom (strike 2). I declined his offer. He left his daughter unattended in my waiting area (strike 3). After he finished his application, I discovered that his daughter had peed on a chair in my waiting area (strike 4, yer out!).

He did clean up his daughter before leaving, but he didn't mention the pee stain to me.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hints For Job Seekers - #1

Anyone looking for a job should be aware that anything they do while applying for a job is being observed. When a person brings their children in while they fill out an application, it tells the hiring personnel that childcare will be an issue for that potential employee. If someone can't get a babysitter on the day he or she wants to fill out the application, it's best to delay it until the babysitter is available.

A related side note is that it's not a good idea to admit that you left a previous job due to not having someone to take care of the kids.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Standards of Hiring

As you all know, I have unusual people applying to work for my company. I have gotten about 750 applications so far this year. Unfortunately I would not say that most of them would be ones that I'd consider. I processed 7 applicants today that I'd gotten in the last week:

* 2 that I'd terminated in a previous year for bogus SS #'s.
* 3 had felony convictions for forgery/robbery.
* 1 I had a bad feeling about.
* And the final one was acceptable.

I would like to find new janitors who have a steady work history, no criminal convictions, and have experience in the janitorial world. This is what I was looking for at the start of my day.

By noon, my qualifications were they should have a clean criminal background and good work history.

By 3pm, my qualifications were that they had no felonies and neither my assistant nor I could remember anything bad about the impression they made on us when they applied.

I was able to set up 5 interviews for 2 full time positions.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

H.R. Stories: How Not To Get Hired

This cartoon is almost the exact conversation I had with someone who stopped by my office. Unfortunately, Xtranormal limits the number of people who can be in a cartoon to 1 or 2. My assistant was in the office with me at the time. At the end of the real conversation, the visitor asked my assistant a nosy question about what she was doing. We aren't hiring the guy.

H.R. Stories: How Not To Get Hired

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

H.R. Stories: Hiring Pack

This Xtranormal cartoon I made was based on 3 real conversations I had with 3 of my field HR assistants.

H.R. Stories: Hiring Pack

(Jenny prides herself on being an overachiever.)

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Use of Photos

I allow others to use my Flickr photos. But I frequently google my user name to see how they are being used. A year ago, a website called LAist Political Notebook used one of my creations more than once. At the time, I was having my dog Turbo run for President on his blog. The photo was created for that blog. I took a picture of a bunch of old campaign buttons and stuck my dog's button in the mix. I doubt the LAist paid close attention to the picture:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Conversation with a Doc

About 5 years ago I sent a someone I knew years before an email that basically said "hi, how have you been all these years?" The following cartoon is what she emailed me back. I interjected a me-character in it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009

Cartoons Of My Life

I found this really cool website called Xtranormal. You can type stuff in and make cartoons. You can do cartoons for free, but I opted to pay the $9.99 to get more options.

I am going to create little cartoons of funny things that I have experienced in my life. My first cartoon is of a conversation I had with a woman when I was a senior at Mizzou. I was getting a degree in English. Jean, the woman, was working on a graduate degree in Education.