Thursday, July 31, 2008

Michael Scott's Rules For Management

Amazing...I can't believe I haven't seen this before...

For those who love the Office...

From Harvard Business School: click here

Also from US News and World Report, what to do with a boss like Michael Scott (hint: career coach): click here

And USA Today has lessons from the world's greatest inept boss: click here

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What I’m Hearing…Farewell, Turkey O’Toole

In somewhat uncharacteristic fashion for me, today I’m writing about something not related to HR at all.

Last night’s newscast brought some very sad news. Bennigan’s, the nationwide casual dining chain, is closing its doors. Soon.

For most people, this is a non-event. For the thousands of people losing their jobs, it’s another story. (Aha – everything does relate to HR!) And for me, it’s a farewell to my favorite sandwich – Turkey O’Toole.

There’s nothing fancy about Turkey O’Toole. It’s thin sliced turkey, with melted Swiss and honey mustard sauce, on a pretzel bun. The pretzel bun makes the sandwich a small bit of heaven here on earth. Pair the sandwich with a Coke and a side of hot cinnamon apples…yum! Add sticky toffee pudding for dessert and you’re good to go.

In time, I’ll find another taste temptation, but you never forget your first love. Turkey O’Toole will always live fondly in my memory. Sláinte!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Craigslist and The Rest of the List

Among the social networking and various online websites designed to attract job seekers and job posters alike, Craigslist, a website that is more well-know for selling tickets or finding apartments has become a go-to source according to the Wall Street Journal: click here

Personally, I think Craigslist has some advantages and some limitations for both job seekers and job posters, but it is an excellent site to use for posting an open position. It may not be as aesthetically pleasing as Monster or have the name of Careerbuilder or have the social networking opportunities of a Facebook or provide easy searchability like the New York Times jobs website...but with its growing audience and ease of use, it may be the place to be for Human Resource professionals and people looking for jobs in this difficult job market...

From the Boston Globe's Hiring Hub HR Center HR Blog (seriously, we like to give credit to the articles we post, but can they make this a little simpler?), despite a title that may seem to indicate a different subject, the New York Times admits that women don't just opt out for children: click here

Lastly, an interesting article from the Baltimore Sun on one jail's pre-professional/apprenticeship program: click here

What I’m Hearing…The Latest from Washington, D.C.

I’ll admit it. The legislative aspects of HR aren’t my favorite. But sometimes, we can’t ignore actions in our nation’s capital. In the last week, 3 items have come to the surface that impact compensation.

First, the Department of Labor is considering updating the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Portal-to-Portal Act to reflect new laws and court decisions. Items under consideration include excluding stock options from regular rate of pay calculations, tip wage credits, compensatory time off, and calculating overtime using the fluctuating workweek method. Want to voice your opinion on these changes? The public comment period runs through September 11th. Share your thoughts now!

In other news, the Paycheck Fairness Act is proposed legislation that warrants a second look. The goal of the proposed law is to end gender-based pay disparities between men and women performing comparable jobs. Experts expect the bill to soon win House approval. Of particular concern? The law would amend the Equal Pay Act to allow unlimited compensatory and punitive damages even for unintentional pay disparities. Experts do not expect the bill to fare well in the Senate. However, don’t leave pending legislation to chance. SHRM has asked its membership to urge their elected officials to vote “no” on the bill.

Lastly, there’s a new federal minimum wage - $6.55 per hour effective July 24th. Make sure your posters and payroll systems are up to date, and you don’t pay your employees below that amount!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Girls Gone Wild

A title sure to get some people's attention...

But we start off with an article from Fistful of Talent which has the author's worst interviews of all time including a story about a girl who went a little wild...and told about it: click here

Also from Fistful of Talent, an interesting article about Brett Favre wrecking a succession plan in Green Bay: click here

Next, Employee Evolution asks if it's worth it to blog about Generation Y? click here

McArthur's Rant rants about how to deal with Negative Nancies as Managers: click here

And an interesting Yahoo! Hotjobs Q&A about whether it's OK to lie on a job resume: click here

(Credit to Jim Stroud and Industry Radar for some of these fine Humpday links)

Layoff Instructions

With massive layoffs hitting all around the financial world (with Wachovia the latest victim yesterday) and trickling down through the rest of the economy, the Wall Street Journal provided instructions on how to deal with being laid off: click here

The New York Daily News provides some instructions on saving your job when your company is bought out: click here

Next, an old article from says beware of provisions in stock options because laying someone off may vest them: click here

From the Six-Figure Learnings blog, the "Worse Than Enron Sweepstakes": click here

And lastly, from the Recruiter Review, a title that has a lot of people getting scared about their jobs and the job market "More Job Losses": click here

Friday, July 18, 2008

Declining Value of a College Degree

Think that your $160,000 private school degree is setting you light years apart from others? Think again says the Washington Post who say that the value of a college degree is declining: click here

From the RecruitingCenter Blog, an entry stating that all we really have is our reputation: click here

Eccentric Employment is a site worth checking out if you're looking to get away from the boring 9-5 (including taking care of a monkey): click here

Word from TalentSpring that and amazing 39% of employees wanted to quit if their employers blocked Facebook: click here

Lastly, the Recruiter Guy gives a list of 100 Niche Job boards: click here

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What I’m Hearing…Benefits from the Economic Downturn

Listen to the news today, and you’ll undoubtedly become very nervous and / or depressed after just a few minutes. Based on the reports, it sounds like we’re headed for another Great Depression at any minute.

Taking a positive spin on things, The Omnia Group recently conducted a survey asking “What has been the best "hidden" benefit to the recent economic turndown to your business?” The results?

•Refocusing business priorities - 37%
•Reinforcing existing client relationships - 24.7%
•Finding and cutting unnecessary costs - 19.8%
•Overdue company reorganization - 8.6%
•Refinement/adding additional products and services - 6.2%
•Other - 3.7%

What can your organization do to take advantage of our current economy to come out even stronger? How about in your own department? We don’t have to take the poor economic reports as gospel. We can use them to our advantage, to excel and be ahead of our competition when times change for the better.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What I’m Hearing…Desk Rage

I’ve heard of Road Rage and ‘Roid Rage. Today I learned about “Desk Rage.”

Desk Rage happens when employees are short-tempered, insulting to others, and nasty (at best). At its worst, Desk Rage spills into workplace violence. It makes you long for the days when employee ennui was the worst you’d have to deal with.

Search on “office rage” on YouTube and 232 videos appear. Desk rage has a smaller results page, but videos are there.

Experts claim that Desk Rage will be on the rise as employees worry about the economy, gas prices, credit card debt, mortgages, and job uncertainty.

As HR professionals, more responsibility will fall to us to mitigate the Desk Rage that creeps in our workplaces. What can we do to prevent such incidents from happening? Honest communication on organizational policies, practices, and business results should help. Reminders about key parts of the benefits program, including the EAP, should also be included. Don’t forget time for fun! We all feel stressed at work sometimes. A pizza party, ice cream break, or other fun event can help to diffuse the tensions that build and make sure Desk Rage doesn’t become a commonplace part of your organization.

Update from Andrew: This is one of my "favorites" in this category...not sure if it's staged. But it's quite an amazing video regardless: click here

TXT MSG Monitoring

Fredrikson & Byron P.A. starts us off on All-Star Tuesday with an article about the employers right to monitor text messaging and e-mail being as strong as ever: click here

Following that note, Workforce Management says that Human Resources technology spending is still growing according to the recent studies of Towers Perrin and AMR Research: click here

In other news, the Staffscapes blog reports that the Federal Minimum Wage will increase July 24th: click here

The HR Capitalist talks about employees who hate employers but refer them anyways: click here

And Recruiting Trends asks if passive candidates can leverage superior job security terms: click here

Friday, July 11, 2008

More recruiting articles...

We're not ready to call it a weekend just yet...

Rosie left us a comment on the last post with two great website links: click here and here

Work blogging has everything from cyberslacking to an upgrade for the Steelworker union: click here

Recruiting Nevada gives readers a little bit of everything as well from resumes on job boards to using Google: click here

The Windmill has alternatives to salary negotiations and advice on how to get hired by the Best companies: click here

How about some tips from/for the top recruiters? click here

And, lastly (and most importantly) go to our main website at Astron Solutions and find out more about what we do and who we are:

Bloggerific Recruiting

Taking you around the world of HR on this Summer Friday with some great Human Resources articles/blogs, mostly having to do with recruiting (with some props given to Jim Stroud of the Recruiters Lounge--click here--where we found a bunch of these)

First we start with "Invested, innovative, brilliant: Improving the recruiting experience" blog with articles on Gen Y and Facebook among other topics: click here

Riveting Rosie also has some ideas on reaching Gen Y'ers: click here

Personnel Today has an article on Video Game developers bring in HR to help with recruiting problems: click here

The Boston Herald has new on the in demand job perk that is helping to ease commuting pains and recruit more employees: click here

HR Files has a little bit of everything: click here

Recruiting Trends does also: click here

Lastly, has five new trends in recruiting...for top high school football candidates: click here

Have a great weekend and we'll be giving you more and more HR recruiting resources real soon

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Another “Support The ‘Stache” update


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Supporting NY and the 'Stache

We find it hard to disguise our love of baseball here on the Astron Blog and with both Mets and Yankees fans on the team, we decided to give some extra help to those teams. We've added on the right side of the blog, a voting widget so you can vote for whoever you want (or Jason Giambi of the New York Yankees and David Wright of the New York Mets). We're located in New York, but won't give away who we're voting for (Giambi and Wright).

Amazingly, the Yankees and the American Mustache Institute (not even remotely kidding) have endorsed Jason Giambi as the AL candidate: click here

Giambi's mustache has gotten so popular it's become an icon at the stadium: click here

And it even has it's own blog: click here

David Wright hasn't resorted to the 'Stache [yet], but we'll give him the nod, as well--for John.

It has nothing to do with HR...but we urge you to support New York...

Monday, July 07, 2008

What I’m Hearing…Apex Awards for Publication Excellence

We couldn’t keep the good news from you...

Today’s mail delivery brought us a wonderful surprise. Amid the bills and flyers was notification that our blog received a 2008 Apex Award for Publication Excellence! Thank you to our readers for contributing to our success. We’ll be sure to keep building on our past achievements to make the blog even more useful, fun, and interesting for you!

Update (from Andrew): Just wanted to post the link to the Awards List (click here) so that you can see our fearless leader, Jennifer's, name in lights (or at least in print). I would also like to extend my thanks to our readers and we hope you continue to read, pass it on to your friends, and check out all the things that Astron Solutions (click here) has to offer your company!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Summer Interns

We were all at one point (or are now...or will be) summer interns and so we know the ups and downs of the trade. You come in feeling a little nervous, but excited about the summer that lies ahead. You get to meet some people and go out to happy hours and get wined and dined at times, but you soon learn you're the bottom of the food chain. There are certain things that flow downhill and you--much like Jack and Jill--have tumbled down to the bottom. But there is solace in the fact that it's for the resume/the wallet/college credits/just for fun. But alas, for better or worse, the summer is soon over and then it's back to school. You've made some contacts and done some networking, but you realize it's not enough. You go back to school and put it on the resume and hope that some of it sticks with you the rest of life.

How about some advice on those internships?

The Boston Globe (via,, the Hiring Hub, the HR Center, and the HR Blog) says that if you get a Google internship, fame will follow: click here

I tried for that elusive Google internship and failed in the pursuit...but judging by the experience one of my friends is having working there now, I truly missed out...

The Wall Street Journal (via CareerJournal, and "90 Days") has some tips on making the most of your summer internship: click here

And two more articles...

Back to the Journal which has an article on going back to school for career advice: click here

And back to the Globe for some advice on how that leadership experience in Fraternities and Sororities in college looks like: click here

What I'm Hearing...Caught on Camera

At SHRM last week, we captured this interesting pose from our colleage John Sazaklis. We wonder what his expression means! Here's where you can help...let us know what he's thinking. New Yorker magazine - watch out!

What I’m Hearing…Professional Dating

On a recent flight to Chicago, I read Continental Airline’s in-flight magazine ( The magazine had an ad for a service called It’s Just Lunch. According to the ad, “It’s Just Lunch is the dating service designed for the busy professional.” The service matches you up with other compatible individuals with whom you meet for a low pressure lunch to see if the relationship is worth pursuing.

The ad contains several facts to build the case for needing their services. Although the referenced studies aren’t cited by name, the “facts” are as follows:

1. Americans work the longest hours among industrialized countries.
2. Half of white-collar workers log fifty or more hours a week.
3. Americans take more than 405,000,000 business trips each year.
4. 42% of Americans work more hours now than they did 5 years ago.
5. Meeting someone special can be a full-time job.

The upshot? Time is precious and it’s never coming back. Waste a few hours on a bad date and your weekend is shot.

This got me thinking. First, if people are this busy, do they genuinely have the time to invest in a meaningful relationship? Or does the name truly say it all – it’s just lunch?

Second, why are we working this much? Do we work this hard because “we’re supposed to,” or do we work this hard because our work positively contributes to our lives and well-being, as well as the lives of those we impact?

Third, when did dating become a job? Isn’t it supposed to be fun? I never considered meeting someone special to be a business.

Perhaps if we took a little more time to enjoy a positive work/life balance, dating wouldn’t be as high risk an activity as the ad makes it out to be.

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