Advice: Come ‘N Get It

Advice: Come ‘N Get It

Want even more?  Visit our print column hub at The Kaleidoscope Weekly, our Yahoo! Business & Finance pieces, or listen to our contributions on Fox NewsRadio as a regular contributor of the “Plain Jane Wisdom” show out of Nashville, TN.

We dispense all kinds of HR advice, because we get all kinds of HR questions.  Everything from the regular stuff on how to get a job, keep a job, get a raise, work in a vacation, hire someone, fire someone, dating at work, personal hygene issues from the quiet guy in the cube by the window… yep… we hear it all.  And we put our best brain cells to work for you and your unique story.  We don’t have all the answers to life’s problems, but we sure do have a lot of them.  Try us out – it’s free and fun!

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Ask the HR Lady: Are Tatoos Taboo?

Posted by on Sep 12, 2011 in Advice, Managing Employees | 0 comments

HR Lady:  We own a restaurant and have a strict “no tattoo” policy.  We feel that tattoos might offend some of our guests.   There’s a worker I really want to hire, but she has a tattoo.  Can I make an exception?  ~Tom, Missouri

Dear Tom:  Tattoo policies are like any other policy.  You have to decide what kind of an organization you want to be and then that will answer your question.  The best example of how to treat policies is DaVita, Inc.  They are the largest independently owned kidney care company in the United States.  Their philosophy about their handbook and policies are that it’s a guideline, not a rule.  When you put it in that perspective, it sure does make it easier to have the flexibility you need to run your business.  What it requires, though, it strong leaders who are willing and capable of having uncomfortable discussions with employees. Weak managers say “You can’t do it because there’s a policy that says you can’t.”  This type of talk removes
the ownership and power from the leader and gives it to the handbook.  Real power lies within people and the ability to connect effectively with others.  If you use a guideline approach instead of an inflexible policy approach, expect and train your leaders to have meaningful performance discussions.  For example, “The tattoo on your arm doesn’t match up with our brand and how we want our customers to think of us, so we need you to wear long sleeves at work.”  We wish you all the best!   ~ HR Lady

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upcoming Lunch & Learn! “
How to Make Money While You’re Waiting for a Job” will be held at Drury University’s new campus in Rolla on October 11 from 12:00-12:45pm.  FREE and open to the public thanks to Drury University’s gracious donation of meeting space!


Phone: (877)608-4563

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5 Ways to Have a Better Morning

Posted by on Aug 17, 2011 in Advice, Hate My Job; Burned Out | 0 comments


In a perfect world, birds would sing on our window sill and we would greet them with a smile and a Cinderella-like “la la la”.  Enter, real life mornings.  Amid the craziness of alarm clocks, lunch packing, showering, hair combing, clients calling early, poopy diapers, spilled cereal milk, and shoes that suddenly don’t fit, there’s just gotta be a better way to get up and out the door in the morning.

Here are 5 ways to have a better morning:

1.  Don’t scream at anybody.  Chaos just seems to create more chaos, so take a deep breath and whisper when you feel like yelling.  If you’re like me, you’ll whisper the vowels and scream the consonants.  Calm down and focus on teaching the people around you what you need them to do.

2.  Do as much as you can the night before. 

  • Choose and iron clothes
  • Set out shoes and socks
  • Check school paperwork and complete anything that needs information or a signature
  • Go over your schedule for the next day and compare it to your family’s schedule to check for conflicts and strategize how you’re going to make it all happen
  • Figure out what’s for breakfast the next morning

3.  Decide to just get up on time.   In our house, my husband and 2 yr old are the early birds.  Our 5 yr old and I like to sleep in.  We’ve finally got a system worked out in our house that drags the sleepy heads out of bed (it’s an alarm clock that my husband makes me get up and turn off.  By then, I have to go to the bathroom and start checking email so then my brain starts to register that I’m not going to be able to sleep any more).  There is a specific time that we have to be up so that everybody eats, everybody brushes their teeth, Mommy can shower, we can deal with any last minute crisis, and get to school/work without feeling rushed.  It’s good.  I’ve finally realized that I’m always going to be tired, so there’s no point in “15 more minutes” of snooze time in the morning – it doesn’t help.  🙂

4.  Keep it simple.  If you forgot to do something the night before, don’t try for anything elaborite during your morning routine. Just make something similar and simple happen and promise yourself you’ll try it again another day.  I used to do all kinds of fancy things with our daughter’s lunchbox napkin – sweet notes, poorly done oragami, etc.  Now, I just give her a napkin and write “I love you!  Love, Mom” with a big heart or smiley face or flower.  It takes 5 seconds and makes us both feel good, I think.

5.  Coffee.  Even if you don’t have time to make it at home, at least try to pick up coffee or a morning beverage of choice as a “pick me up”.  I promise myself coffee with creamer every morning and it motivates me, even though I only actually get it about 10% of the time.  Find whatever works for you and try to give that little treat to yourself for surviving the a.m.


More resources:

4 Time-Saving Tips to Start Your Day

Morning Brew: Vacation Day at Work

Just Like Martha: Organize Your Home Office Paper Clutter




Living Your Purpose

Posted by on Aug 16, 2011 in Advice, Featured Articles, Hate My Job; Burned Out, Live Your Purpose | 0 comments

Become who you ARE.

In January 2011, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) launched and one of the shows offered is a Master Class.  It’s basically famous, wise, insightful people who pass on their knowledge and wisdom to viewers.  Folks like Diane Sawyer, Simon Cowell, and the queen bee (Oprah) herself sat down and passed on some really great advice.

The thing that struck me the most and has now changed my entire perspective on life is the concept of living one’s purpose.  It’s about more than a job, a paycheck, a marriage, a geographical location, a house, a car, a bank account, popularity, success, accomplishments, and all that.  Oprah said that one way to find your purpose is to think about what you naturally do well…. where you feel comfortable doing something, the answers come naturally to you, and it feels like you were born to do it.  Look there and you’ll likely find YOUR purpose somewhere nearby!

So I’ve launched on a journey to live my purpose.  Here is some insight I can share after eight months of the journey:

1.  At first it feels overwhelming.  We’re so trained to think in terms of success = job, money, & stuff that we don’t really know what it feels like to live where we belong.

2.  Instead of reaching up and out for your goals, you’ll start to reach in.  A huge “aha” moment will be that you are not what you do or what you have or what you’ve accomplished.  You are enough.  That’s it.

3.  It’s not a fancy mission statement or a goal.  Your purpose may unfold to you as a simple statement.  Mine did and it took me some time to get my head around it:  My purpose is to help people solve their business and work-related problems.

Once you embrace that and start to snuggle down into your purpose, life just comes easier. Money comes easier.  Relationships come easier.  It’s awesome.

Improve Your Circumstances

Posted by on Aug 1, 2011 in Advice, Featured Articles, Lunch & Learns! | 1 comment

See those little bones on top of her skinny feet? I used to have those. 🙂

“Improve Your Circumstances”. This is what we all want, isn’t it?  From the guy making $100,000 a year to the person going to school and hoping for a job when they graduate.  We all want to improve our circumstances – it’s the American way.  The problem is, most folks don’t know how to do it.  Do you get a job or start a business?  It’s like standing on your tiptoes on the edge of a cliff – both seem risky and are heart pounding.

The fact is, we let ourseoves become a nation of people who want someone else to provide us with work instructions and a paycheck.   The past few years of job loss have caused 585,000 Americans to open a business instead of waiting on someone else to hire them.

Over the next few months, we will be offering a series of lunch & learns both via web and in person to help folks navigate through earning income while waiting on a job and how to run a successful business.  These sessions are led by ML Broxton, nationally known author, columnist, Fox News Radio correspondant, and business/leadership adjunct faculty for Drury University.

Talk to us about joining a session!   Tickets will be on sale online at least 30 days prior to the event.

Phone:  (877)608-4563            Facebook:  Ask the HR Lady          Yahoo:  Ask the HR Lady


Lunch & Learn Schedule:   September 13, 2011 “Make Money While You’re Waiting for a Job”  

12:00pm – 12:45pm        Drury University in Rolla, MO   Ticket price:  $FREE   Includes: 45 minute workshop on how to discover your talent & get customers!     

October 11, 2011 “Make Money While You’re Waiting for a Job”

12:00pm – 12:45pm   Drury University in Rolla, MO   Ticket price:  $FREE   Includes: 45 minute workshop on how to discover your talent & get customers!

November 15, 2011          “How to Hire Moneymakers”

12:00pm – 12:45pm         Matt’s Steakhouse  Rolla, MO    Ticket price:  $25   Includes: Lunch, Ask the HR Lady: Getting the Job, and workshop.

December 13, 2011          “How to Hire Moneymakers”

12:00pm – 12:45pm         Online via Webex     Ticket price:  $17   Includes: Ask the HR Lady: Getting the Job, and workshop.






See you there!


Burned Out At Work: How to Fix It

Posted by on Jul 7, 2011 in Advice, Hate My Job; Burned Out | 0 comments

Love it.

Check out this article on how to have a Vacation Day at Work.  Here’s an excerpt:

So have you ever really needed a vacation day, but didn’t have any?  Fear not, frazzled friend.  There is a plan.

First, consider momentarily those days when you worked like a person on meth.  (The good meth, not the watered down stuff that my crackhead relatives say the kids are smokin these days. )  These are the days when we say “I gave my employer 110%”.  And, truthfully, you probably did.

It’s just a matter of math.    Here are a few ways that good employees earn a vacation day at workread more

The reality is that we all get a little (or a lot) burned out sometimes.  If you have a jerk and/or micromanager for a boss, just skip this article and get our book about how to get another job because none of these solutions are going to fix your idiot boss.  🙂

If you are frazzled or burned out at work, you likely need a vacation. Now, there are several different kinds of vacation.  Some people take vacation and they simply work from a different location.  Not that kind 🙂  If you are burned out, you need a real vacation with absolutely zero contact to or from your job.  Think of it this way:  they survived before you were hired and will do just fine now, too.

If you own a business, it’s a little harder to have zero contact, but limit it to one phone call a day.  Choose a time of day and let your employees know you’re going to call them at that time every day.  Designate one trustworthy person to collect all messages, questions, and complaints.  Try to push off dealing with complaints until you return because there’s usually more than a simple fix there.  Plus, it might make you REALLY upset, which will ruin your vacation (and the vacation of everyone else with you) due to general anxiety and grumpiness.

Hang in there and give yourself a break.  Times are tough and, until you can replace the paycheck you have with another one equal or better, you might just have to take a few vacation days at work. 🙂


Ask the HR Lady: Best Way to Ask for a Raise

Posted by on Jun 29, 2011 in Advice, Pay | 0 comments

photo credit:

Dear HR Lady: I have been in my current job for about 6 months and need to make more money.  What’s the best way to ask for a raise?  ~ Cindy, Wyoming

Dear Cindy: I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you are more likely to eventually get fired than get a raise if you ask for one.  In today’s economy, all the negotiations for the first three years at your new job need to be done when you’re working out the job offer.  Once you have agreed to the terms of the job such as hours, pay, work location, etc., you need to be ready to live with that for at least 3 years before asking for a major change.  Any sooner, and you will likely spook your employer, create a negative impression of yourself, and end up fired later down the road because your boss simply doesn’t like you any more.

When the time is right to ask for a raise, be prepared.  Make a bullet pointed list of the projects, accomplishments, and other factual data that you have done above and beyond the job you are already being paid to do.  Be ready to talk about how you have made or saved money for the company, and try to tie your compensation increase request to those figures.  For example, if you have saved the company $115,000 over the last two years, bring that number up again when you ask for the specific pay increase you want.

Pay increases are awarded as a percentage of your current salary.  Most companies have completely frozen pay increases, but they still happen for star performers.  Your pay increase will likely be 1-2% of your current pay.  Before the economic decline, it was common for an employee to receive a 3-6% increase each year.  Now, even promotions within a company will only gain an employee a 10% pay increase…. if they’re lucky.  Many companies will try to get a person to take a promotion with no pay increase, hyping up that the new title is all worth it.  Not.

When you ask for your pay increase, don’t expect your boss to make a decision right then.  It will take a few weeks for the right people to be consulted, typically.  Also, be prepared to be offered a small bonus instead or more flexible work hours.  The key is to not get bitter if you don’t get a resounding yes right away… or ever.  You have a job.  You may not realize it right now, but you are one of the lucky ones.  Good luck and I wish you the best! ~HR Lady

Ask the HR Lady: Should I Change Jobs?

Posted by on Jun 28, 2011 in Advice, Changing Jobs | 1 comment

Dear HR Lady: I have been employed with the same company for 10 years and live in the San Francisco Bay area.  Four years ago, I decided the commute was killing me, so I interviewed around and got a job offer.  Then, I went to my employer and told him I had another job offer.  He asked me what it would take for me to stay, and I told him I didn’t like the commute.  He said I could work from home a few days a week.  I accepted that offer and they promoted me with a pay increase.  Now, I am able to work from home every day and only have to go into the office once every two weeks or so.  The problem?  I’m sick of my job.  I’m tired of doing the same thing day in and day out.  I’m thinking about looking for another job but wondering if I’m crazy.  Any advice?    ~ Chris, California

Dear Chris: There’s an old saying about not leaving the rock you’re on until you have a foot on the next rock.  There’s no doubt about it – changing jobs is a risky move.  Here’s what you do:

  1. Look at your income and expenses and make sure you are being very smart about your money.  Before changing jobs in this economy, I recommend having 10-12 months of net pay saved in a savings account.  Additionally, pay off as much debt as possible so that all you’re dealing with are your regular monthly bills such as utilities or rent.
  2. Invest some time in yourself.  Find a great life coach [likely available as an Employee Assistance Benefit (EAP) though your current employer] and explore if a job change is really what you need.  You may discover that you need a new hobby or simply to find a way to connect with the passion of life again.  Even if you do change jobs, you’ll be in a great place emotionally to make the transition and find success in your new role.
  3. Keep the door open. While you may not be working full time for your former company, ask them if you can stay on as a part time consultant.  That way, you keep the door open for you to maintain an income even if your new job doesn’t work out.

Good luck and I wish you the best!  ~ HR Lady

Ask the HR Lady: Employee Medical Leave Debunked

Posted by on Jun 14, 2011 in Advice, Medical Leave, Published Articles | 0 comments

Unravel the mystery behind employee medical leave. When you have to hold a job, when you don’t, and what to say to the employee.

By Laine Broxton  |  Published 3/15/2010
Dear HR Lady: One of my employees is having some medical problems and their attendance is getting worse. I want to do the right thing but my business demands require consistent attendance. I’ve heard that I am required by law to keep the person’s job while they are out sick. What are my options? ~ Bill, MIssouriDear Bill: Hats off to you for being a compassionate employer. By law, if you have 50 employees or more you may be subject to comply with the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This act requires employers to grant up to 12 weeks of medical leave per year to employees who have worked at least 1250 hours in the last 12 months, and the employee’s situation must meet specific criteria to qualify.

If you do not have 50 employees, or the employee does not meet the criteria, you have some options. First, you might talk with the employee and agree to a modified schedule that will allow time for them to attend doctor appointments, etc. This will allow you to schedule part time help on their off days. Second, you could talk with the employee and explain that the business is not able to support the absences. You might agree to grant the employee several weeks or months off without pay to give them time to heal. During this time, you are not obligated to hold their job, however; if you think you will want to hire the employee back, I suggest hiring a replacement person and let them know that the job may be temporary.

The key in these situations is to make absolutely sure that you do not discriminate against the employee based on their medical condition. One excellent way to accomplish this is to not find out any information regarding the employee’s specific medical problem. That may seem like an impossible feat, but all you really need to know is information related to whether or not the employee is able to work. Sometimes employees want to give details about their illness or injury, what prescriptions they are on, and details about their doctor appointments. When an employee starts to tell you this information, gently and firmly let them know that you hope they feel better soon and that you want to make sure that they keep their private health information just that… private.Here’s the philosophy: If you never know their physical or mental ailments, you are less likely to be accused of making an employment decision based on their illness or injury. ~HR Lady

Yahoo! and Entrepreneurial Woman Magazine Articles

Posted by on Jun 7, 2011 in Advice, Published Articles | 0 comments

We publish a ton of great articles on business, finance, entrepreneurship, and human resources.

Our contract doesn’t allow us to repost the articles, however; you can find many of the articles by clicking on the links below:

Yahoo! publications are available by clicking here

Entrepreneurial Woman Magazine publications are available by clicking here


How to Get Hired by a Small Business Owner

Posted by on May 13, 2011 in Advice, Featured Articles, Getting the Job, Published Articles | 0 comments

This is likely the cutest car in the world. I Googled "smart" and this came up. Thanks for the grin, Google!

Yahoo! asked for an article about what we look for when we hire.  Here is the article they published – enjoy!


As a small business owner, what I look for when I want to hire an employee is different from what a national chain or corporate business wants from an employee.  Here’s exactly what I look for when I am reviewing resumes and hiring a new employee:

1.  Experience that fits the job .  Unfortunately, small businesses don’t have a training budget or training team to get a new employee up to speed, so I look throughread more.