Monday, January 31, 2011

Cleaning Out the Links Part 5

We're back for some more links and we're starting with the New York Times which is reporting that there are big obstacles for the anonymous tips of misdeeds: "A study published in The Journal of Management Studies has found that corporate audit committee members attributed lower credibility and allocated fewer resources for investigations when reports of malfeasance were received through anonymous tips, compared with nonanonymous reports. The study also found that the audit committee members were more concerned with protecting themselves than shareholders if they faced considerable damage to their reputations as a result of a tip, a clear violation of their fiduciary duties."

Now we head to onwallstreet which talks about the retirement "Catch-22": too young to retire and too old to get hired. Age discrimination is hard to prove but is pretty prevalent in this economy.

Lastly, for everyone looking for a job right now, they probably agree with this FINS article which says that job hunting is often one step forward...and two steps back.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Astronology - Bedbugs in the City

Volume XI
Issue 23

January 25, 2011
Dear Andrew,

Astron Solutions provides high-quality, low-cost, innovative human resources consulting services to organizations like yours. Call us for advice, innovative program design, and user-friendly Web/PC based software.

Have You Seen...?

Astron Solutions started 2011 in style by unveiling our new website!  If you haven't visited recently, please visit our new home on the web!  We incorporated your feedback into our new website's design and features.


Please let us know what you think! We love to hear from you.

Fact or Fiction

Employees spend over a month each year searching for lost documents.




According to a survey of 2,600 executives by Esselte, in a 2004 issue of FastCompany Magazine, employees waste up to 6 weeks each year searching for lost documents.

Bedbugs in the City
Throughout 2010, many places of business throughout the United States reported bedbug infestations.  In August 2010 Terminix, a pest control company, listed the top 15 cities for bedbug infestations. The top five include New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Cincinnati, and Chicago. Considering that these cities are often traveled to for business and leisure, this listing is a major concern for the traveler and his / her family. In this issue of Astronology, we explore the sudden manifestation of these insects, and what you can do to prevent an infestation in your office and home....more
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Looking for a top-notch presenter for your human resource organization's meeting?  Both Jennifer Loftus and Michael Maciekowich present highly-rated sessions on a variety of compensation and employee retention issues.  For more information, send an e-mail to

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Copyright 2011, Astron Solutions, LLC

ISSN Number 1549-0467

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Guest Post: Don't Let Gloomy Weather Keep You Down at Work

Once in a while we get a guest post submitted to this blog, but I don't think any of them have been as timely for us New Yorkers as this post on gloomy weather. So when you wake up this morning and see all the snow out there, you'll want to read through this post. This guest post is contributed by Alisa Gilbert, who writes on the topics of bachelors degree. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: Thanks to Alisa for this great post!
Sometimes the dead of winter can make for some terribly gloomy weather when we leave for work. Nothing makes a commute more frustrating than having to drive through heavy rain and cold weather knowing that all you'll do is sit at work in a grumpy mood. Even worse is when you get caught in the rain walking to the office and you don't have a change of clothes! In any case, bad weather can often ruin the mood at the workplace, affecting both productivity and people's spirits. For those bad weather days, you have to try to come up with some ways to stay cheery. Hopefully these five tips can help you.

Shake it Out

If you find yourself sitting at work stewing in a foul mood, then maybe you should consider getting up and moving around. You may not be able to take a walk outside, so instead do walk through the office, maybe stop for coffee or a soda, and recharge you energy. Moving around gets blood flowing throughout your body, and as a result, it can be enough to shift you into a better mood.

Surround Yourself with Positivity

On your walk around the office, consider trying to have some chats with your co-workers and friends, especially those who are characteristically cheery people. The social interaction will help distract you from your inner frustration; hopefully, some of their cheer can rub off on you. The energy of the social interaction will help prime your pump to be productive and get your next project done.

Add Color to Your Cubicle

If you know the weather is going to be terrible, then you should consider trying to brighten up your workspace. A freshly cut flower, a bowl of candy, even a photo of yourself on a beach far away can help lighten the mood in your office. Just a little splash of color can be enough to rest your eyes.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cleaning Out the Links Part 4

The first link was sent to me by a co-worker who used to work for Bridgewater Associates from Dealbreaker. "Be the hyena. Attack the Wildebeast" would certainly be a different motto than most companies as will most of the things you'll read in that article.

Next is The Economist which has a very interesting article about "The Difference Engine" and the wisdom of crowds. How can you apply this to your workplace and the co-workers who make up the crowd?

Then to Monster and Yahoo! for 10 job sectors which are in decline...and what to do if your industry is on the way out.

Lastly we go to Investopedia and Yahoo! for 7 jobs companies are desperate to fill...and how you can qualify for those jobs.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cleaning Out the Links Part 3

We start out on this Monday morning with 18 common e-mail mistakes from US News and World Report via Yahoo! Finance (H/T Sarah). I can tell you from the experience of receiving e-mails (in both my professional and personal life) that people hit reply all way too often when they just mean to hit plain ole reply.

Next, from FINS we have Goldman Sachs updating their interview tips via a nifty little video (H/T Wendy). The most important advice, in my opinion, is the last point: "At the End. Ask two or three questions about the company or about the interviewer's view of broad industry trends. Don't ask about salary and benefits. You'll have plenty of time for that once you get an offer. And, of course, e-mail a thank you note. It's a classy touch."

ABC News is next with some things not to do during an interview such as, well, bringing mom. Some of these are priceless.

Next, from USA Photos Pictures Blog is a list of the top ten worst jobs in the United States...with pictures of each.

Lastly, from SIFMA, a list of what the positions really mean in simpledetails.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cleaning Out the Links Part 2

Back to our winter cleaning for our HR links here at Astron's World of HR:

From Tuesday's Wall Street Journal, a very interesting article about recruiters changing their online job hunt tactics now that they are beginning to hire again: "Many plan to scale back their use of online job boards, which they say generate mostly unqualified leads, and hunt for candidates with a particular expertise on places like LinkedIn Corp.'s professional networking site before they post an opening. As the market gets more competitive again, they are hiring recruiters with expertise in headhunting and networking, rather than those with experience processing paperwork." This is some good advice that I'll discuss in a future post.

One of the biggest hiring organizations during the past year has been our Federal Government and FINS explained back in July why the Financial Reform Bill would add thousands more jobs (H/T Wendy).

From Woman's Day via Yahoo!, it's 10 things that they don't think the HR department will tell make sure that some of it is very clear and plain to your employees so they do know what they need to know.

Next we have Forbes with the most outlandish resume mistakes ever. Yes, I think listing "God" as a reference was probably a bad idea for that candidate...

Lastly, we have our own Managing Director, Jennifer Loftus, quoted in an article from You at Work saying that offering perks "is a good way to pique employee interest." Good advice from the boss ;)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Few Post-MLK Day Articles

Hope that everyone who was off yesterday had a nice day off and everyone who had to work didn't have too bad of a Monday. As we all exercise our ability to be part of this workforce, we can thank people like Martin Luther King Jr. and others who made this opportunity possible for us. Even those who are out of work can certainly take a day to reflect and that's the important part of holidays like yesterday.

HR.BLR takes it one step further and says that MLK Day should be an opportunity for workplaces to celebrate diversity and instead of talking about how we're all the same, talk about the unique ways in which we are different. Everyone brings something to the workplace and having diverse backgrounds is one way to help build a successful organization.

The New York Times has a story about some Starbucks workers in New York City who took the holiday to celebrate...and then to protest. If you're trying to argue for some sort of equality, MLK Day seems like a good occasion to do so, even for baristas.

Lastly, from the Boston Globe JobDoc, some advice on handling a canceled interview. Although this information is for the candidate, a lot of advice can be extracted for the interviewer in how they handle their interview cancellations.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cleaning Out the Links Part 1

Winter Cleaning! I have tons of great links to share with everyone that I will post here at the Astron Solutions blog over the next few days:

The first is from way back in May from ResumeBear and, with the national spotlight on the healthcare, they have a list of the healthiest companies in America.

From back in December about how young entrepreneurs are making their own jobs in this bad job market instead of waiting around to find one from the New York Times.

Then on to ABC News which has tips for interviewing and 5 tips that no one mentions. These are helpful hints not only for the job applier but for Human Resources as well.

Next, from this past week, some advice from TLNT on how you can avoid a people management fiasco at your company like the Juan Williams/NPR case.

Lastly, from FINS we have an article which states there's actually a science behind your employees blowing their bonuses.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Unemployment Rate, Small Businesses and New Mobile Site

We'll actually lead-off with the last one in the subject line. Today more and more people are accessing the web via a smartphone and here at Astron Solutions, we understand the need to do so. So we've developed a new mobile site for you to use that should work very easily on your Blackberry, iPhone, Droid or other smartphone. Go to and you should have a nice, clean mobile site to use. Eventually, you should be able to just go to our regular blog address and access the mobile site but for right now, that address is the best one to use.

If you work for or own a small business, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that things will start to look brighter in 2011...but old problems will still remain: "Companies, helped by a loosening in the credit markets as well as improvements in consumer spending, are showing some interest in raising prices and hiring new employees. But most improvements are expected to be marginal, likely benefiting only the healthiest small businesses while the rest continue to struggle, relying on survival tactics adopted during the recession, such as deep discounts to lure customers and operating with fewer hands."

Also before you start cheering the "great" unemployment data from today (the largest drop in unemployment since 1998), read this Forbes article and realize that unemployment rate is always a flawed figure: "The big drop in the unemployment rate did not come from all of the new jobs created (which were largely in hospitality and health care, with 25,000 new bartenders and waitresses minted in December and 36,000 health professionals finding work) but simply from the erasure of unemployed people from the rolls."

Stay dry on this snowy Friday and have a great weekend!

Monday, January 03, 2011

A New Year...But Old Issues Remain

As I looked through the New York Times yesterday I realized that while we had just turned the calendar on a New Year, we're still dealing with the same issues in jobs, healthcare, and the economy.

Andrew Cuomo was sworn in as the new governor of New York and is already set to deal with budgetary and job issues left for him by his predecessors. Yesterday Cuomo said he will seek a one-year salary freeze for state workers and today he followed that up by saying that he would take a 5% cut on his own salary and will cut many of his senior aides salaries the same amount.

Downstate in Manhattan comes news that there are new rules for restaurant tips that have come into effect: “'Never before were there any regulations regarding tips in New York State,' except for a mysterious paragraph in a 1968 law that barred employers from appropriating tips, said Jean Lindholm, a supervising labor standards investigator at the State Department of Labor. An inconsistent mixture of Labor Department opinions and lawsuit judgments has governed industry practice through the years, she said, adding, 'It was time, long overdue, to clarify the rules.'

Lastly, for those people who can find new jobs, most of them have had to switch careers and with a career switch has come a lower pay according to a new report from Rutgers' Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. The article starts out with "even the lucky ones are not so lucky" which is the sad truth in the matter. Some of the same issues remain for 2011...

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