Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays and Greetings from Thailand

Most of America is probably traveling or has arrived to spend the Christmas season with family and loved ones. Most Christmas Eve's I would be doing so as well (or going for Chinese food and movies--a time-honored Jewish tradition on Christmas Eve). But this Christmas I will not be anyplace near family, friends or loved ones as I'm in Thailand celebrating my honeymoon. Currently I'm in Ko Samui, a beautiful island of white-sanded beaches and delicious food. So while I read about snow storms hitting all across the US, I will be enjoying the beach in the high 80s tomorrow.

Okay....enough gloating. The purpose of this post wasn't to make everyone jealous (though if that's a side effect, oh well...haha). But one of the things I've noticed in my time here is that social norms and comfort with a difference in cultures is essential to grasp and then practice when doing business with other cultures. A few examples from my trip:

  • Every time I try to point in a direction, everyone ducks. Pointing is probably not good in any culture but the result of my constantly trying to figure out which direction I'm supposed to go in has gotten a few extreme reactions
  • Shoes sometimes need to come off even when it seems strange. I like the idea of taking your shoes off when you go inside a building, especially a holy site, but leaving my shoes in the middle of a crowded walking street so that I can head indoors seems a bit strange to me and the first few times, I opted to keep my shoes in a bag inside instead of outside. But once I conformed, I found that there's really nothing to be worried about and I like the idea of not tracking your whole day around with you when you enter a building. 
  • Learning a few words in another language means a lot to the native people. It's a strange thing to say but I feel like just learning a few words in Thai (especially bathroom which I loosely pronounce as "hong nam") has brought a lot of joy to some of the locals. Not the "let's make fun of Andrew for trying" type of joy but the "hey, he's giving our language some effort". I know that everyone tries to learn English for us tourists so a few, easy Thai words can't be so hard for me
  • Sometimes greetings should be more formal. I'm not sure that you could get American businesses in the service industries to respectfully bow as they do in Thailand but I think that they would garner a lot more good will and respect from their customers. It's a small gesture and one that is part of their culture but the bow is a great way to show the customer just how important they are--even if they haven't learned any Thai words.

The lessons of all of these is that even though we all try to keep an open mind when going to visit another area or do business with a foreign people, sometimes truly understanding the culture and the norms will help not only further those business dealings and make them go smoother, but also provide lessons for how we can all conduct our business a bit differently ourselves. We tend to get caught up in "Western norms" but sometimes relying on thousands of years of customs works just fine too.

Here's wishing everyone who reads our blog and their families, friends, and loved ones a very Happy Holidays from us at Astron Solutions! May your year be filled with sunshine, happiness, and all good things!

Friday, December 14, 2012

The SS Human Resource Professional

Well...not exactly. But this ship that ran aground in Charleston Harbor, according to gCaptain, had the very interesting name of the HR Recommendation. Any guesses as to why they chose that name? Do you think they were asking for a new name or was the ship the idea of a suggestion box? The possibilities are endless (H/T Jennifer for this gem)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Guest Post: The Pros and Cons of Hiring Recent College Grads

We were gone for a while but now we're back again and better than ever with a guest post from Katie Wilson. Kate is a blogger and freelance writer for She is passionate about all things education and is particularly interested in life after college in today's society. You can reach Kate in the comments below. Without further ado, here is Katie's post about the good and the bad of hiring recent college grads:
The topic of recent college graduates and first-time employment has been a hot topic for some time now. With so many young 20-somethings emerging on the job market with freshly earned degrees and endless energy, unemployment numbers are all the more staggering. This topic is so hotly discussed today, because it is such a fundamental issue to our society. We go to college with presumption that our hard earned degree will lead us to the steady, paying job we've always dreamed of. While this assumption is slowing changing in light of recent economic struggles, the underlying concept remains—degrees lead to employment. But what is it exactly that newbie graduates bring to the table in the professional world? As hiring managers and human resources representatives, there are many reasons that fresh college graduates make strong job candidates and there are many reasons they may not fit for certain positions.

The Pros 

Recent college graduates bring a lot of positive things to the table when it comes to employment. Consider these positives when making your hiring decisions:

Tech Savvy: Having a strong familiarity with various forms of new technology is a must in today's work place. Today's college graduates are experts of the digital world. This is the first generation to have grown up completely immersed in technology. Learning new platforms, media, and programs is significantly easier for the younger generation because they've been adjusting to new technologies their entire lives. Having an affinity for technology and online communication is a huge positive in the professional world today.

Motivated and Energetic: Newbie grads are energetic and ready to work. They've just graduated from school. They're ready to be out of the classroom and active in the working world. This energetic student mentality can be a hugely positive thing in the professional world. Recent graduates will work the extra mile to make a statement, establish themselves, and grow. While "older", veteran employees will do this too, newbie graduates have extra motivation to "make it" because they are trying for the first time.

Masters of Multi-Tasking: Going hand-in-hand with understanding technology, because recent grads grew up with the internet and technology, most of them have mastered multi-tasking. Doing multiple things at one time is simply the way their brains work. This can be a very positive attribute in a busy and hectic workplace. Having to think on your feet and juggle multiple things at one time can be extremely useful in the right positions. Of course, this multi-tasking nature can also result in distracted and unfocused work. As a hiring manager or HR representative, it's important to carefully consider the type of position you're hiring for. 


The Cons 

While fresh college graduates offer a lot of positive things upfront, there are some setbacks young employees pose as well. Recent college graduates can pose some human resources concerns because their mindset is typically not a professional one. While this, of course, isn't universally true, many fresh grads can struggle with adjusting to a professional environment.

Youth Attitude: Many times the college graduate enters a work environment with an unprofessional attitude without really realizing it. These recent grads are used to making friends with the people they work with. The line between colleague and friend can be difficult to distinguish for a recent graduate. On top that, college grads entering the workforce today may suffer from a pretty hindered sense of confidence. After job searching for months and months on end, actually being confident in a new position can be a challenge. This lack of self-confidence can interfere with important job decisions and elements.

College Mantra: The "college mantra" can be a challenge for newbie graduates in the working world. Professional attire and attitude can be a struggle coming immediately from the realms of flip flops, late assignment requests, and college dorms. Part of that college mantra that follows many 20-somethings to the professional realm is a need for recognition and praise. Students are used to full attention from their professors. They get constant feedback from their professors and expect grades on their work to describe how successful they are doing. This is not the case in the professional world. Many recent college grads can struggle to understand their successfulness without regular recognition and feedback.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Astronology - Holidaze: Beating the Holiday Blues & Stress

Astron Website Top 


Volume XIII

Issue 12

December 11, 2012

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.


Happy Holidays!

From all of us at Astron Solutions, happy holidays to you and those dear to you! 


Our next issue of Astronology will be January 8th.


We wish you all the best this holiday season, and a healthy, productive, and prosperous 2013.  




Holidaze: Beating the Holiday Blues & Stress

The months of November to January signal a busy time for holiday celebrations, family time, and other happy moments. It is also the time for what some call the "Holiday Blues" and high stress levels. For those who work in an office setting, trying to meet pressing deadlines before vacation time and simultaneously preparing for holiday family and office events can become a major contributing factor to this seasonal anxiety.....
Continue article | Continue to Astron Solutions



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Copyright 2012, Astron Solutions, LLC

ISSN Number 1549-0467

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