“Hey it’s October . . . It’s Time to Re-THINK Your Resume”

Published on October 1st, 2014 by Alan L Sklover

“The only person you are destined to become
is the person you decide to be.”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

ACTUAL “CASE HISTORIES: Okay, just imagine this: It is a Thursday afternoon in late January, and you get a call from a good friend. As she has mentioned to you, she has been working with an executive recruiter on a job search. She mentions to you that the recruiter called her today, and asked her if she knew anyone with just the type and level of experience that you have. The job opening is with a very young, growing and exciting firm, and he has just been handed an urgent assignment from them seeking someone just like you.

Sure enough, the employer that the recruiter mentioned is your absolute, number one, monster “dream employer.” Your friend says, excitedly, “This could be your lifetime break . . . it could be fantastic for you . . . can you send over your resume today? You freeze.

You have no idea where your resume is on your computer. You can’t remember when you last updated it. It makes no mention of anything you have done, learned, accomplished or joined for the past year or two, and there sure is a lot of new stuff to mention. Even if you find your resume, it is focused on a different type of job, working for a different type of employer, doing different work, than you have interest in now. And, too, the resume-writing service you used two years ago has closed its doors.

Right job. Right time. Wrong resume. Bad news.

LESSON TO LEARN: No matter who you are, what you do, and for whom you work, you just never, ever know when and how someone important – even your “dream employer” – is going to ask you to submit your resume. Chances are, like most other opportunities in life, it will knock on your door when you least expect it to, and when you are least prepared.

Since there is an annual rhythm to the hiring process, and there is a peak in that annual hiring season each year from mid-January to mid-April, the odds are that the scenario described above will, sooner or later, happen to you in that timeframe. Even if it does not happen in that timeframe, by re-thinking your resume at least once a year, you’ll be ready just in case it arises at any other time.

Because the peak hiring season takes place between mid-January to mid-April, the best time to begin “re-thinking” your resume each year is in the month of October, which gives you at least three months to (a) re-THINK your resume, (b) do, learn or join new things, and (c) re-DO your resume.

Re-thinking what your resume should include or exclude, project or suggest, takes more than an hour to do. It requires thought, review, analysis and creativity. It is a process that takes time and effort, and like anything else important in your life, it requires both care in planning and care in execution.

Start now, and when the proverbial knock comes on your door, you’ll be entirely ready to answer it. Many of my most successful clients do this each and every autumn.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Here are ten thoughts and ideas to assist you in re-THINKING your resume, and then in re-DOING it, too, to maximize your chances of getting your “dream job” and working for your “dream employer.”  Continue Reading. . .

Sklover’s Thought for the Work Week

Published on September 29th, 2014 by Alan L Sklover

Featured Coffee Cup

“There are more foolish buyers than foolish sellers.”

– French Proverb

In almost every transaction the buyer has the money and the seller has the goods. The seller has an easier time assessing the value of the money than the buyer has assessing the value of the goods. When considering changing jobs, remember that you know what you have – good, bad and ugly – but you cannot be sure what you are buying into. If there is a job opening, did the person who left know something you do not? Think about it.

© 2014 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved

[If you would like to contribute a favored quote, saying or proverb, please submit it to us at info@SkloverWorkingWisdom.com].

EBIDTA – Key Words & Phrases

Published on September 26th, 2014 by Alan L Sklover

Key Words

What is the meaning of:

“EBIDTA”?

Often when reviewing or negotiating employment contracts, bonus agreements, and stock award plans, we come across an accounting term that is not a real word, but an acronym: EBIDTA. It stands for “Earnings
Before Interest, Depreciation, Taxes and Amortization.” It is commonly viewed to be a measure of the profitability of a company.

It is supposed to measure net income, with interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization added back in to it. It is used to analyze and compare profitability because it eliminates financing and accounting decisions and their effects.

Most often we see EBIDTA in employment-related agreements or benefit plans as a condition of payment of bonuses, vesting of equity, or other employee rights or entitlements. For example, “Your stock options will vest if, during the previous fiscal year, the company’s EBIDTA exceeds $30 million.” Here’s another example: “Annual bonuses will be distributed only if the company achieves EBIDTA of at least 125% of its EBIDTA in its first year of operation.”

Savvy investors and business people know that EBITDA is quite capable of manipulation by adding in or subtracting out a wide variety of costs and revenues. The lesson is this: EBIDTA is capable of manipulation, most often to help the person(s) doing the calculations, and least often in the interests of others.

If you have an employment contract, stock option agreement, bonus plan or other important work-related document that uses EBIDTA as a measure of success, or as a condition to your receiving a benefit or payment, consider requesting that a metric that is more likely to result from accurate measurement, and less prone to manipulation, is used, ones that make sense in your particular industry. In music, it might be albums or tickets sold. In healthcare it might be the number of patient visits. In blogs, it might be the number of new visitors.

Honesty is in the interests of everyone. Metrics that are capable of manipulation are prone to dishonesty, or as we like to say “non-accidental errors.” Bear that in mind.

© 2014 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved. Commercial Use Strictly Prohibited

A Note to Our Jewish Friends . . .

Published on September 25th, 2014 by Alan L Sklover

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Our Best Wishes to all

Our Friends of The Jewish Faith –

and all others, too – for a Sweet,

Happy, Healthy, Safe and

Prosperous New Year.

© 2014 Alan L. Sklover All Rights Reserved. Commercial Use Prohibited.

“If the EEOC is investigating a discrimination claim, can the employer question the employee at the same time?”

Published on September 23rd, 2014 by Alan L Sklover

Question: Dear Alan: I have watched many of your website videos and love them.

An employee has filed a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (or “EEOC”) alleging age discrimination against her employer. This person has been assigned someone from the EEOC to investigate the claim. The employer was notified of the employee’s EEOC claim and the EEOC investigation has begun.

Here are my questions: First, can the employer contact the employee directly and ask to discuss the claim over the phone during the investigation? Isn’t the employer supposed to reply to the EEOC about the claim, and not be allowed to contact the employee directly?

Second, if the employer does contact the employee directly, can the employee refuse to participate in this discussion and ask the employer to contact the EEOC?

Lenore
West Ashley, South Carolina

Answer: Dear Lenore: Thanks for your compliment about our videos. We see them as an extension of the many written materials we now offer. Wait until you see our App!

1. Filing a complaint with a government agency does not change the basics of the employment relation. There are many, many different government agencies that oversee and regulate different aspects of the employment relation, including state, federal and local agencies that regulate, among other things, (a) workplace safety, (b) overtime and minimum wage issues, (c) claims of discrimination, (d) rights to unionize, and (e) whistleblower complaints.

When an employee files a complaint with one of these agencies, the agency investigates and sometimes participates in a resolution, but the participation of a governmental agency does not change the basics of the employment relation. Rather, agencies such as the EEOC are “outside” third parties, separate, distinct and outside of the employment relation. The EEOC’s sole job is to engage in an investigation and, possibly, prosecute filed claims to see it they see evidence of illegal discrimination.

We offer Model Letters entitled “Model Letter for Objecting to Illegal Discrimination – Age, Race, Gender or Disability – to Your Employer, that you can use to help yourself if you believe you have been illegally discriminated against. To obtain a copy of one of these useful model letters, just [click here.] Delivered by Email – Instantly!

2. One important “basic” of the employment relation is that employees must reasonably cooperate with the requests of employers that are reasonably related in some way to the operation of the company. As examples, if the employer requested the employee to (a) use time sheets or time cards, (b) refrain from using the office computers for personal purposes, (c) wash hands before leaving the lavatory if the work is in a restaurant, or (d) arrange for vacation time at least a month in advance, they would all be basic requirements of cooperation with an employer’s requests related to work.

It would not be reasonable to expect an employee to agree to matters unrelated to the operation of the company. As examples, an employee has no obligation to date the employer, or vacation with the employer, or engage in similar non-work-related activities.

Failure of an employee to provide reasonable cooperation with a reasonable, good faith request of an employer constitutes insubordination, which is legal grounds for firing “for cause,” to be avoided if at all possible.

3. Indeed, in many circumstances – including after a claim of discrimination has been filed – the employer has a legal duty to take steps to investigate and prevent any further improper behavior. If an employee claims she or he is being harassed, bullied, threatened, discriminated against or retaliated against, and the employer becomes aware of the claim, it then has a legal duty to look into the matter, and if appropriate, take steps to halt further misconduct. In turn, it is an employee’s duty to cooperate in these efforts.

If and when an employee files a complaint with a government agency about the conduct of the employer, it is entirely reasonable for the employer to investigate the matter, itself, at the same time. This is so that the employer can (a) make changes to avoid further harm or danger, (b) properly answer questions the agency might put to it, and (c) prevent further instances of what was complained of.

4. However, the employer cannot use a request for cooperation as a ruse to (a) intimidate, (b) humiliate, (c) retaliate or (c) pressure the employee to drop or change his or her filed complaint. The employer’s duty to investigate and the employee’s duty to cooperate both have limits: (i) reasonability and (ii) good faith.

The employer cannot insist that the employee sit down for 24 hours straight – without a break – to answer questions. The employer cannot ask the employee questions that are unrelated to the issue at hand, or that are embarrassing. The employer cannot make the employee undergo a polygraph – often called a lie-detector – test. Any such requests are unreasonable and suggestive of bad faith, and would likely represent an act of retaliation, and therefore should immediately be reported to both the EEOC and the employer, in writing, and in detail.

Feel you’ve been retaliated against? Use our “Model Memo Objecting to HR about Retaliation on the Job” to stop it and have it reversed. “What to Say, and How to Say It,™ just [click here.] Delivered by Email – Instantly!

5. Likewise, the employee cannot in this process ask colleagues to testify falsely or destroy documents; those would be equally unreasonable and improper. Such conduct by an employee during an EEOC investigation would be improper and a violation of law, as would an employer pressuring an employee to drop or amend his or her filed claim.

6. Direct communication between employee and employer during an EEOC investigation just might result in a negotiated settlement, assuming the negotiations were not mandatory or pressured. It is often the case that an employer approaches an employee who has filed an EEOC complaint and says, in one way or another, “Would you like to settle this dispute, and if so, how would you like to do so?” If the matter can be resolved that way, everyone is well-served, PROVIDED it is not a pressured negotiation, such as “Settle on these terms, or you are fired.”

It is for this reason that, almost always, once an EEOC investigation has begun, if the employer and employee agree on a settlement, the EEOC will insist on its right to approve the settlement, as a way of making sure it has not been coerced, and seems fair.

7. If the employee ever feels retaliated against, pressured, intimidated or otherwise pressured by an employer after the employee files an EEOC claim, a second, new claim of retaliation should be filed with the EEOC, which would be a more serious violation of law than is the originally claimed discrimination. If the employee believes that he or she is being treated badly in some fashion as a result of, in retribution for, or in retaliation for filing his or her original EEOC complaint, that should be brought to the attention of the EEOC immediately, in writing, for their further investigation.

Retaliation against an employee for exercising his or her legal right to file an EEOC complaint is a more serious violation of law than would be the discrimination, itself, and often results in greater penalties and jury awards.

It is for this reason that most employers try to avoid even the perception or appearance of bad treatment of an employee who has recently filed an EEOC complaint.

Lenore, sorry for the long answer, but the many nuances of this situation seem to require a step-by-step explanation in my response. As always, I hope this is information is helpful to you, and that the EEOC matter goes well.

My Best,
Al Sklover 

P.S.: If you are Suffering from a Bully Boss, we offer Model Anonymous Complaint to Your Employer About a Bully Boss, you can adapt and use. Shows you “What to Say, and How to Say It.” To get your copy, just [click here.] Delivered to your printer by email in minutes.

Repairing the World,
One Empowered – and Productive – Employee at a Time™

© 2014, Alan L. Sklover All Rights Reserved. Commercial Use Prohibited.

Alan L. Sklover

Alan L. Sklover

Employment Attorney
and Career Strategist
for over 30 years

Job Security and Career Success now depend on knowing how to navigate and negotiate to gain the most for your skills, time and efforts. Learn the trade secrets and 'uncommon common sense' of Attorney Alan L. Sklover, the leading authority on "Negotiating for Yourself at Work™".

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