Tag Archives: career advice

Which Mask Are You Wearing?

Happy Halloween! While I have pumpkins in my entry way and will take the child out for treat-or-treating, I can’t say I’m a person who’s really into Halloween. There are some who goes “all out” for this holiday. However, coming up on Halloween made me think about masks and the ones we wear daily – and we all wear them. I don’t mean to imply that we are not always attempting to be our authentic selves, but there are definitely times when I feel like I’m wearing a mask – especially at work.

I don’t think that in wearing a mask, you’re completely inauthentic or fake. However, I do feel that when you don’t work for yourself and are representing someone else’s brand/image/product, you are wearing a mask of sorts. Also, let’s face it, these masks are often required if we want to sustain our livelihood. For many people, donning this mask is why they often branch out on their own and do things such as consult, open their own business or switch professions altogether.

Wearing a mask at work may simply involve selling a product that you don’t believe in, or the more extreme, not being able to be who you truly are. Some people are closeted at work or, some individuals feel that they cannot celebrate their cultural heritage and identity at work. These are more extreme cases of mask wearing, but you would be surprised how many people are wearing such a disguise.

In honor of Halloween (or maybe reverse Halloween ☺), I’d like to recommend that we take the masks off! Can you imagine how awesome our work environment would be if instead of wearing the masks we think are required, we were our true selves? What a culture of diversity and truthfulness it could bring?!

Are you wearing a mask? What mask are you putting on each day? What’s your scariest professional story? Feel free to share in the comment below!


Photo Copyright: tatyanagl / 123RF Stock Photo

It’s Never Too Late

I am the queen of saying “In my next life, I’m going to do…”. Recently, I’ve found myself saying it more often. Whether it refers to some small choice I’ve made related to the type of vehicle I drive, or, city living vs. suburbia. However, mostly when I say this, I’m referring to my career choices. I love what I do, but I often wish there was a different way for me to apply my experience. That’s part of the reason why I started this blog. I wanted to mesh my knowledge and passion about Human Resources (yes, I have a passion for HR) to my love of giving advice and helping people solve their personal problems.

Recently, I’ve received several signs from the universe that I simply can no longer ignore. I stumbled across an old Business Insider article which detailed several famous individuals; artists, authors, actors and many other known successful people who achieved success or switched careers later in life. Warning: later in life often refers to life after 30 (yikes).  Then, I ran across this quote: It is never too late to be what you might have been – George Eliot.

It finally occurred to me that while I had been saying it jokingly, the reality is that there isn’t another life (as far as I know). I only have one. I am not super-young, but, hopefully, have plenty of years ahead of me. Moreover, while I did not necessarily start the process when I wanted, there’s no reason why my goals must disappear, simply because I’m starting 15 years later.

It was not my intention to share this personal epiphany with the blogosphere. However, there are so many of us who stop short of our dreams because we got married, got divorced, had children, didn’t finish school, ran out of money, the task seemed too daunting, and countless other reasons why our goals may have been deferred. Contrary to what Drake told us, if you’re reading this it’s NOT too late. There are a million other mantras and clichés that say some form of the same thing. The point is, we only have one life. I’ve decided that instead of talking about what I could have done, I’m just going to do it – or die trying. I recommend you do the same.

— Andrea

New Overtime Regulations: What’s it to you?

Overnight, you may have seen in the news that President Obama will be signing into law new Overtime Regulations under the Fair Labor and Standards Act (FLSA) today. The FLSA, in addition to many other things, outlines overtime regulations.

What does this mean for you? If you are currently exempt from earning overtime payments – which is typically 1.5 times your hourly rate for any hours worked over 40 hours per week, you may now be eligible – if your current salary is less than $47,476.

But before you head out to buy those new Louboutins with your extra overtime dollars, please note that this law is not effective until December 1, 2016. This time gives your employer the opportunity to assess their current compensation strategy. Maybe they don’t need you to work those extra hours you’ve been putting in over 40 per week, and they’ll implement a no overtime rule, or perhaps they’ll bump your salary up to the $47,476 threshold, or pay the overtime. This change may have an enormous impact on your employer, and they will have to make adjustments.

This brief post details only a portion of the FLSA and the key provisions of the final rule.  If you are interested in learning more about the new FLSA Overtime Regulations, pop over to the DOL website for more information. overtime-rule-explanation

Number of workers impacted per state. 

Overtime updates will extend protections to 4.2 million workers across the country. *Infographic courtesy of http://www.dol.gov/featured/overtime.

Millennials Are Not Evil

Well, maybe some of the trolls on Twitter are, but, for the most part, they’re harmless. For some reason, whenever they’re mentioned in the workplace, someone inevitably rolls their eyes. Not to give away my age too much, but let’s just say Destiny’s Child (3 member version – not the 4) was singing “Survivor” when I was accepting my undergraduate degree. Therefore, I sit right on the cusp of being both a Generation Xer and a Millennial. When I first started my career in Human Resources, I read studies conducted on the interaction of Baby Boomers (born 1946 -1964) with the Gen Xers (1965 – early 80’s) and attended seminars on how the two will coexist and how we can all just-get-along. This was a major area of study during that time. Now, the hype is around the Millennials (early 80’s – mid/late 90’s)  and how this Uber loving, Snapchatting generation is going to take us all down (that’s a slight exaggeration, but you get the point). In my line of work, I’m often privy to people’s birthdates. Believe me, the first few times I saw 199x as a birthdate of a new employee, I thought we were hiring high school student workers. I couldn’t fathom that someone born in nineteen ninety-anything was old enough to have completed college AND entering the workforce. After all, I’m barely out of college (not really, but I still feel young). However, they’re here now, so let’s get over it.

I completely understand the feeling of no longer being the young starlet. It wasn’t that long ago I would give people my title, and they would say, “At your age?!”. Or, they would find out my age and could not believe the position I held. Now, I tell people my age and/or title and they respond, “That’s nice.” It’s a hard adjustment; especially if you’re a person who’s been a high achiever your entire life and now you’re no longer the child prodigy. You’re actually at a place in life where you are going to be held accountable, and no one is going to cut you any slack because of your youth or inexperience. Hopefully, you’re at a place in life and career where you’re okay with that.

Now, back to the Millennials – they’re here and here to stay. And unless there’s an Instagram apocalypse that wipes all of their users off the face of the earth, they’re not going anywhere. So here are four tips for coping with these newbies in the workplace.

1.  Mentor: It wasn’t that long ago you were in their shoes. You remember what it was like to be new, smart, excited and still no real clue of what you were doing. You’re young enough in age to relate, but old enough to have wisdom too – don’t be stingy. Share what you’ve learned, the good, bad and ugly. We all need coaching, and it’s nice to know that someone is in your corner and can help you navigate your way through your career and professional life.

2.  Teach (very similar to mentoring): I realize we’re talking about work and, for the most part, we just want to get in, do the work we’re hired to do and leave. However, whether you have Millennials who report directly to you, are peers, or even supervise you, this is your opportunity to share what you’ve learned with them. You don’t have to limit teaching to job specific tasks. Teaching can involve introducing someone to professional associations, guiding them through the nuances of the organization, or simply serving as a sounding board for ideas.

3.  Learn: While I’m sure you’re wondering what you could possibly learn from someone who has never taped a song from the radio. There is much to learn from a person who has grown up in such an insta-society. Their perspective is different, and it presents new ways to look at the world and possibly at the work.

4.  Embrace: Again, they’re not going anywhere. Instead of being the old person who sits around the water cooler complaining that the new girl is wearing yoga pants to work (btw, this is rarely okay). Help guide her into the role of the young professional she is capable of becoming. Also, maybe she can teach the marketing department how to cut the advertising budget by using social media outreach.

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It’s Been a Long Time, I Shouldn’t Have Left You

Hello…again. I took a brief hiatus from the blog; however, I’m back with a new focus on you, the readers. I’ve returned with great information and a new format that I hope you’ll enjoy.

For those of you who may be new to HR Trendster, it’s a blog for YOU. As an HR Consultant, I usually work with business leaders, CEOs, and other executives to provide human resource advice and consultation for their organization. Yet, I find that my passion lies in working with individuals who are seeking advice and guidance for their personal career goals. I often meet or am connected with people who need professional help. It may be counsel on how to handle a difficult co-worker, employee, or boss to questions regarding interoffice romance (don’t worry I’ll address that soon) or interviewing techniques. I find that’s the work I enjoy most.   And that’s what I mean when I say, “this blog is for YOU.” It’s your opportunity to ask questions, get advice and read posts that relate to what matters to you.

I’m looking forward to a great conversation with you all.

Stay tuned. An exciting new addition to the HRTrendster site is coming, and you can join in the fun!

Be Safe (At Work) This Halloween

As Halloween approaches, I’d like to make a public service announcement. Don’t do it!

Does your company allow costumes to be worn to celebrate this fun, candy-filled holiday? As an HR practitioner, this makes me cringe. I hate to be a party pooper, and I do enjoy Halloween (see, I can get in on the action). What concerns me is the possibility of the inappropriate costumes that are sure to flood the workplace. I think most of us know not to wear racially insensitive costumes or ripped-from-the-headlines-inappropriate outfits, for example, a sexy Ebola nurse (yes, it’s real) costume. If not, check out some of the repercussions of doing such a thing in this article from SHRM. However, I’m most concerned with the other costume choices some people may make. I get it. If you’re in a professional work environment you often feel trapped by having to wear your business professional attire, it often feels like summer vacation when you can sport your best dressed down outfit. At last, you have an opportunity to let out that bit of your personality that you’ve been dying to release at work. Unfortunately, Halloween may not be the time to do this.

Once you wear something like this to work you cannot take it back. You may show up on Monday ready to get back-to-business, unfortunately, your co-workers will still have visions of you in the costume that showed way too much leg/cleavage/butt. Or, the decision you made to show up without a shirt because you thought it would be fun to come as a caveman to the office Halloween party, may continue to haunt you all year. I know a lot of people feel like it’s no big deal. We’re all adults and people understand that Halloween is for fun, and the best part of it is that you get to dress like you normally would not. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple, and you’re always under the microscope at work – no matter what someone else says. I’m not saying that your boss and peers are unable to separate the professional you and the Halloween you or that one costume will throw away years of hard work. But consider the last time you saw a CEO in thigh-high boots or with a necktie around his head. You don’t want this one outfit to call into question your judgment or limit your career growth because a co-worker posted a picture of you on their Instagram page.

I recommend playing it safe for the office Halloween costume. You can throw on those Mickey/Minnie Mouse ears or Superman shirt (minus the tights) and call it a day. If your inner-self feels compelled to go as a “sexy” anything – tell him/her no, and save that for the Halloween pub-crawl this weekend.

Get Your Apple On

The iPhone® 6 is here! Or at least it will be on 9/19.  With much anticipation, earlier this week, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook announced the release date of the latest iPhone model and the debut of the Apple watch. My crystal ball is in the shop, but I can pretty much guarantee that there will be a mile long line outside of every Apple® store filled with people clamoring for the tech maker’s newest gadget.  The marketing behind Apple and its products is brilliant. There are not too many other companies where people wait with bated breath to hear what’s coming next. People stalk the website, pontificating on what the next product will be, worshiping all that is Apple. It makes me wonder. What can we learn from Apple? Below is a list. 🙂 

Three things we can all learn from Apple and apply to our career or just everyday life:

1. Be so fantastic that whatever you do people expect it to be great. There are better phones than the iPhone, right? At least that’s what I’ve heard. Still what other phone has people glued to their monitor waiting to stream the announcement  of the newest update to the item and then line up for hours just to get one. Let’s face it; there are better tablets too, for less money even, yet, last year (2013), according to NPD, iPads held 59% of the tablet market in the U.S.

2. Be ready on your time and be worth the wait. Apple is somewhat behind in the “smart watch” game. However, they’ve felt no pressure to beat LG or Samsung to the punch, both LG and Samsung debuted watches last year. Apple waited to unveil the much hyped Apple watch, and it is still not scheduled for release until next year. The verdict is still out on the newly unveiled watch, so whether it’s worth the wait is unknown, however, if it follows Apple’s pattern – it will be. Which leads me to my last example…

3. Be consistent. This doesn’t mean be boring or completely predictable. After all, I encouraged you to unleash your Beyoncé. But, if we’re consistent in who we are and true to our personal brand, we can build trust with others.

I’m not suggesting that Apple is perfect; I’m still trying to figure out how to manage my cloud without sharing my hair salon selfie with the entire blogosphere.  Nevertheless, Apple is clever in how it manages its brand; we could all take a page from their iBook.

Allow me to re-introduce myself (Updated)

I originally created this blog in the summer of 2013.  Unfortunately, work became crazy and life took over. However, I am no longer preoccupied and I am back in the blogging business.

This blog was created with my family and friends in mind.  Every few weeks I get a call from a friend or family member asking an HR question or a request to review a resume (alliteration not unintentional :-)). Honestly, I love it! So why not have a forum where people can ask questions and everyone can benefit from the exchange of HR thoughts and advice (not just mine). Therefore, I decided to blog about career and HR happenings, along with HR related advice – solicited, of course.

So here it is. Feel free to comment, browse, share, ask a question, or simply follow my musings (mostly HR related). Welcome to the HR Trendster!