Monthly Archive for December, 2009

Don’t Hire Anyone You Can’t Fire

Do not hire anyone you can’t fire. Ignore this advice only under pressure so harsh that you can’t resist.

You can bet that if you put under great pressure to hire someone, you’ll likely to be under even greater pressure if you have to fire them.

Resist to the last ditch situations where employment is based on any reason other than the needs of the company and the particular worth and “fit” of the person being brought on board. As long as you are held responsible for the results of your department you should have the absolute right to hire and fire as you think best. You should insist on being let off the hook if that right is denied.

When possible run for cover when you are being pressured by a friend to hire his friend. Especially try to duck the bullet when the “do hire” message comes on a personal basis from the boss. Be particularly wary of hiring relatives of the boss.

In the real world there may be no escaping the forced hire.  If that is the case, protect yourself from the start. Have a clear understanding with all concerned of the basis on which you are acting. Have a fall back strategy if things don’t work out as planned.

Be sure to document the performance of the offspring of the shotgun wedding.  You need facts about performance, whether he or she is a raging success or a total disaster.

Never become so dependent on an associate that he or she can’t be fired.

I wish you career success in 2010.

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach

Common Sense At Work

Dos and Don’ts For The Company’s Holiday Party

Tis the season for companies to host holiday parties; and despite the recession/depression there will be many of them.

You can take advantage of the event to have some fun and advance your career or misbehave and cripple your career. Here are some basic rules to survive and thrive at any company-sponsored party as recommend by Dr. Randall S. Hansen, founder of Quintessential Careers, one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web.

Do remember that although office parties are intended as social events to reward employees and raise morale, they remain strictly business events.

Do act as though your behavior is being observed every minute (because it probably is).

• Don’t pass up the invitation to an office party; not attending could hurt your reputation. And when you attend, do spend at least 30 minutes at the party for appearances. But don’t overstay your welcome by partying until the wee hours.

.Do conduct yourself professionally at all times. Don’t use the office party as an excuse to blow off steam. It’s still a company function, so proper etiquette and decorum matter.

.Don’t bring the party lampshade, gag gifts for the boss, or any other crazy stuff you might do at a personal holiday party.

.Do enjoy yourself at the party. Employers spend the big bucks to reward their employees, so be sure to enjoy the only holiday gift you may be getting from the company.

.Don’t pull the nightclub attire from your closet for the event — and do ask whether the attire for the party is formal or casual. The party is still a business function, so conservative party clothes are a good choice. So, do remember to skip anything too revealing or too flashy. Keep your reputation for good taste intact.

.Do keep your hands to yourself.

.Don’t flirt, and do avoid any other inappropriate behavior. The office party is not the time to end your career with the company by doing something inappropriate or illegal.

.Don’t spend all evening talking business. You’ll forever have the label as the office bore.

.Do keep all conversations positive and upbeat.

.Don’t spend the evening complaining, bragging, correcting, whining, or ridiculing. And do avoid controversial subjects (such as religion, politics, etc.) and off-color jokes.

.Don’t monopolize conversations — and, especially, don’t talk about yourself or your accomplishments all night.

.Do show interest in others.

.Do be gracious and thank coworkers and team members for all their help and hard work during the past year. And don’t even think about gossiping about others.

.Do keep one hand free during the night so that you can offer handshakes to people as they come by. And do keep your drink in your left hand, so you are not offering people a cold, wet handshake all evening.

.Don’t feel you need to drink excessively just because it’s an open bar. And don’t pig-out at the food buffet either. Moderation is key. You can always eat and drink more after the party.

.Do take the time to network and schmooze with people at the party who can influence your career or who you may not see regularly, such as top management, people from other departments, and employees from other locations. A holiday party is a great event to begin building or strengthening business relationships, so do introduce yourself and build your network.

.Don’t assume everyone celebrates the same holiday, so don’t go overboard with the “Merry Christmas.”

.Do be sure you know exactly who is invited to the party. Spouses or significant others are not always on the guest list for office parties. And if guests are permitted, don’t bring an inappropriate person as your guest.

.Don’t forget to thank the person responsible for the planning and coordinating of the party. And do consider sending a thank-you note to top management for hosting the party.

.Do inquire about office policies on providing car or cab service for employees attending the holiday party. And do appoint a designated driver or do hire a cab yourself if the company is not willing to provide the rides home.

.Don’t drink and drive.

For more information and more career related subjects you can visit Dr. Hansen’s website or reach him at

I hope that 2009 has been a good year for you and your career; and that 2010 will be bigger and better.

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach

Common Sense At Work

Odd Ball Requests From Job Applicants

A good hearty laugh is hard to come by in these turbulent times in the job market, but these odd ball requests from job applicants to hiring managers ought to help. (This is from a survey of 2,900 hiring managers compiled by CareerBuilder.)

• Allow clothes-changing in cubicles.

• Tanning bed in the break room.

• Beer in the vending machine.

• Have jail time covered under family medical leave.

• Institute bikini day.

8 HR person wear nicer shoes.

• Time off for side business as a clown.

• Replace desk with a futon so employee could lie down and work.

Can you believe it?

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach

Common Sense At Work

Temp Jobs Can Lead To Permanent Employment

Career Advice

Thousands of out-of-work men and women will be fortunate to land temporary and internships during the holiday season.

There are two ways to work in these situations.

One, some will treat the job as a short term, stop-gap proposition. They will show up, do what they are told to do and not one whit more. They won’t make any effort to learn what the employer’s business is all about and what role their tasks play in the business. They won’t make any effort to get to know the boss and what his challenges are. They work on a here-today-gone-tomorrow.

Two, others will take the opposite tact. They will treat the job as an opportunity to show their skills, attitude, work habits, and adaptability…the assets that could lead to a permanent job.

Despite Job Losses, Opportunities Still Exist

No doubt about it, the prolonged recession/depression has caused many employers to freeze hiring or reduce jobs. Some are using temps and interns to pick up the slack to get through the frenetic holiday season.

Still, there are many opportunities in a variety of industries for alert, hard working employees to translate temporary jobs into permanent positions.

For example, UPS says it will hire 50,000 seasonal workers this year. The company says it could move from 20 percent to 30 percent of temps who demonstrate their value during the pressured holiday season to full-time positions.

Manpower, the staffing firm, expects to employ about 10,000 seasonal employees. As many as 40 percent could earn permanent jobs.

Six Steps From Temp To Permanent

There are seven steps that temps can take to increase their chances of landing a permanent job:

1. Treat the temporary assignment as a prolonged interview. John A Challenger, chief of Challenger, Gray and Christmas, the consulting firm, says that many companies treat seasonal positions as “auditions to find some of their best people.”

2. Make it known that you are interested in a permanent job.

3. Behave as if the position is permanent: arrive on time, put in a full day, carry out assignments, respect the dress code. Be dependable. (That’s the number one trait employers look for.)

4. Be flexible. Accept the less desirable shifts and assignments with a smile and can-do attitude. Better yet, volunteer for the extra tasks or shifts.

5. Learn the business of the business and how your temporary job contributes to its success.

6. Get to know the boss and his challenges. Help him solve them.

By the way, the U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting hundreds of thousands of temporary, part-time census takers. These jobs are very good for people who want to work part-time, those who are between jobs, or just about anyone who wants to earn extra money. Most positions require a valid driver’s license and use of a vehicle. For more information, visit:

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach

Common Sense At Work