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Saturday, February 28, 2009

job changed on first day of employment

A reader writes:

I submitted my resume in response for an ad to be a Risk Management Training Specialist for an insurance company who performs safety, health and risk management training. I went through a three-step interview for the position of Risk Management Training Specialist. I was offered and accepted the Risk Management Training Specialist position, and gave notice to my other employer.

However, on my first day at the office during new employee orientation the job description that my boss (who interviewed me) presented me with was a job description for a Training and Development Specialist. The new job description was a trainer who presents, develops and markets to clients leadership and human resource training, and has nothing to do with risk management or safety.

Is this job description switching common? Are there legal ramifications?

Um, have you pointed this out to your manager?

To answer your direct questions -- which are so not the point -- no, it's not common. It's legal; employers can reassign you at any time. You can decline to be reassigned, of course, although that might mean you're out of a job, unless you have a contract. However, that's not really the point here. This sounds like a mistake, not a deliberate attempt to trick you into working in a different job against your will.

The proper way to handle this was on day one, by immediately saying, "I think there's been a miscommunication. The job I was hired for and accepted is Risk Management Training Specialist."

They could have been hiring for both, gotten things mixed up, and if it's a large company, not noticed that they had put the wrong new hire in the job. You likely could have had this fixed instantly by speaking up.

But if you didn't and you're now days or even weeks in, it's much, much weirder. Have you been doing the other job, the one you weren't hired for and perhaps know nothing about? In any case, you can still speak up by saying, "I should have said this on day one, but I was hired as a Risk Management Training Specialist. Can you tell me how I ended up as a Training and Development Specialist?"

Moral: When something happens that seems wrong or confusing to you, the answer is not to stay quiet and wonder if it's legal. The answer is to speak up and ask about it.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

job candidates who plagiarize

Here is some advice.

If you're applying for a job, and the application process includes a written exercise, do not plagiarize your written exercise from materials you find online.

And then, when the person reviewing your exercise points out to you that entire paragraphs are word-for-word the same as what can be found online, do not try to assure her that it's somehow just coincidence.

I had a candidate do this today. It's the second time I've caught someone in this, and I have to wonder how many more I haven't caught.

Plagiarism = not a good idea. Not only is it, you know, wrong, but if you cheat your way into a job, how do you plan on keeping that job? The hiring process is designed to identify candidates who will excel in the position -- if you misrepresent your skills, you're likely to end up in a job that you aren't a good fit for and might get fired from.

So why do people do this? I suspect it's some combination of cockiness and laziness -- the belief that their own work would be just as good, but they just aren't inclined to put in the time to do it themselves.

I kind of wish we could print their names publicly, like the hiring equivalent of a sex offenders list.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

accepted offer, then backed out, now wants back in

A reader writes:

I applied for two jobs. I accepted the first job and then declined the offer and accepted the other. The one I accepted was closer to home and every other Monday I would have off. Unfortunately, the other job did not offer this.

Now I feel as though I should have taken the other job because I am not happy. I have to deal with a person who has a serious attitude. At first I thought it was me, but people were telling me that this has been going on before I got here, and it seems unfair to me to come into a situation like this. The staff tells me to hang in there – she is looking for another job, but this has been going on before I got here and I have only been here for one month.

I am ready to call the other company and see if the job is still available and see if they would take me back. The job is not what I anticipated. What should I do?

Seriously? The other employer isn't going to re-extend their offer to you. Let's review: You accepted an offer from the first company and then later reneged because you thought you had a better offer. When you accepted that first offer, the company cut loose their other applicants and started putting time and money into preparing for you. When you then decided to back out, you did what's called "screwing them over." I can pretty much guarantee that you're blacklisted with them at this point.

Of course they won't accept you back. And why should they, when you've shown you'll walk away at the slightest hint of a better offer, before you've even started?

What if this company had made you an offer, you had quit your job in preparation, and then they called you back and told you that they'd changed their mind because they found a candidate they liked better? (And yes, I know that occasionally some unprofessional company does this. It's just as jerky when the employer does it. It's jerky regardless.)

Frankly, my advice is to stick it out where you are. Not only should you not try appealing to the first company, but you shouldn't start looking for other jobs either, since you're only one month into your current position. Otherwise instead of having one black mark against you in your industry, you'll have two -- one for reneging on a job acceptance and one for quitting just a few months in.

I'm sorry to sound harsh, but your letter reeks of self-entitlement and a lack of understanding of the commitment you make when you accept a job. Eventually that kind of behavior will harm you professionally, if it hasn't already. Cut it out.

Monday, February 23, 2009

should you switch jobs in a bad economy?

You hate your job. The work is boring, your boss annoys you, you share an office with someone who insists on taking all her calls on speakerphone, and you're pretty sure the guy down the hall uses your photo as his screensaver.

Or maybe you like your job all right but you saw a higher-paying opening at another company that you'd be perfect for.

But in such a bad economy, should you think twice about switching jobs?

Head on over to my post at U.S. News & World Report today, where I answer this question. Please leave your own thoughts over there too.Link

Sunday, February 22, 2009

should you add IQ or Myers Briggs to your resume?

A reader writes:

Applicants always want their resume to stand out. Well, I know that a few of the companies I have worked for know of the Myers-Briggs Personality Type test. Although it is not seen as "professional" (yet), I have seen it posted in many settings and have even seen workshops on this stuff.

Would this be a good thing to add to a resume to make it stand out?

By that same token, would an IQ score be something to add? I mean, it is a test of problem solving and reasoning, which are valuable skills in the workplace.

No! Do not under any circumstances put your IQ on your resume. You will look pompous (assuming it's high), weird, and ... just strange. If you are smart, count on it to come across on its own in your materials, your achievements, and your interview.

Don't put your Myers-Briggs type either, unless you're in a field where it's widely considered useful currency. I don't know what those fields are or if there even are any, but if one exists and you're in it, presumably you'll know. But otherwise, you risk appearing a little cheesy to some (although probably not all) resume readers. I suppose you can mention it in your cover letter if it's somehow highly relevant to the needs of the job, but leave it off the resume. (But I bet someone will disagree with me on this, and I'm looking forward to reading their reasoning in the comments.)

Resumes are for listing your accomplishments; they're not for personal traits. Listing that you're an "ESTJ" does give me some information about you, but it doesn't tell me what you've achieved and experienced, which is what I'm looking for when I look at your resume.

Anyone want to argue the opposite?

Friday, February 20, 2009

interviewer wants reference from current employer

A reader writes:

I am in the midst of applying for a new job. I have interviewed three times with a prospective employer and have been told that I am one of the final candidates for the position.

The HR rep contacted me and asked if they can contact my current manager/supervisor for a reference. I explained that I would prefer they not contact my manager, since it may jeopardize my standing with my current employer. They keep insisting that they speak with my current manager, but I am afraid that if they do, my current employer may let me go in layoffs or attempt to force me out of the job somehow (i.e., re-assign, transfer, etc).

Am I obligated to provide the reference to the prospective employer? I feel that their insistence is unprofessional and inappropriate. What if they contact my employer and end up not offering me the job? Or what if I don't accept the job offer? What is the best way to handle this without losing either job?

You certainly aren't obligated to provide your current employer as a reference. However, if the company you're interviewing with is insisting on it, be aware that refusing may take you out of consideration as a result.

However, this is pretty unusual. Most companies understand why candidates don't want their current employer contacted, and it's odd that this one is insisting. Usually, the current employer is either skipped or is contacted only after they've decided to make an offer -- which they make contingent on a good reference from your current employer.

In the rare instance where a company absolutely insists on contacting your current boss before making an offer, these are your options:

1. Take the risk and allow it. Warn your boss ahead of time. Some people in this situation tell their boss they're applying for a part-time or volunteer position, although I think that's risky.

2. If you've had a previous boss at your current job who has now moved on, ask the company if they'd contact her instead.

3. Hold firm with this company. Tell them you are not able to jeopardize your current employment without a firm offer in hand from them, but that you'd be happy to supply many other references and to allow them to contact your current company once you have an offer (which can be contingent on that reference check, assuming you know the reference will be fine). You might even throw in a mention that it's highly unusual for a company to insist on contacting a candidate's current employer at this stage; maybe you're dealing with someone clueless. You can also throw in, "In this economy, it's not a risk I can take." If they don't understand that, consider that a pretty substantial red flag about this new company.

Personally, I'd do #3. What do others think?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

boss threatening to contact prospective employer

A reader writes:

I have been working at the job from hell (people always burp, cuss, yell at each other, etc.) since mid-November. Even though the job is outside of my educational training, I took it because of the poor economy and it's the only job I could get. Since I knew I wouldn't be there long-term and that other employers would laugh and question my sanity for taking a job at this company, I decided to leave it off my resume.

One day I read my personal e-mail from work and discovered that an employer that I applied to was interested in me coming for an interview, so I set up the appointment using my work computer. Well, my employer discovered that and I overheard her saying that she is going to contact this employer to let them know that they discovered me applying for jobs at work. I overheard this clear as day.

My conversations with the new employer were going well up to this point and I believe that my current employer did contact my potential employer. My current employer has no idea about labor law or illegal actions or anything. I haven't heard anything from the new employer, and it has been a week since our last positive contact with each other. How do I handle this ? I have already decided to leave my current job, but what can I do to make sure that the potential employer is still considering my application favorably?

You may not be able to. The fact is, you were probably in the wrong to be using work time and your employer's computer to set up an interview for another job. Is this pretty common? Sure. Does that make it okay if you get caught? Not really. If you want to job search, you should do it on your own time.

Now, is your boss in the wrong for contacting the other employer? Yes, if she really did. (It doesn't sound like you know that she really did; she could been have been blowing off steam when she said that.) But if she actually did contact the other employer about this, she'll look a little crazy to them. It's overkill. If she has a problem with what you were doing, she should deal with you directly. Hell, she can fire you for it if she wants. But trying to sabotage your chances with the other job crosses a line (and a lawyer might even tell you that it's potentially risky legally, but I'm not a lawyer).

But here's another side of this: You took a job because it was all you could get, you don't plan to stay there long, you believe it's beneath you, your email makes it sound virtually impossible that your feelings aren't coming out in your attitude at work, and you're spending your work time looking for other jobs. You're not really acting in good faith.

You may think it doesn't matter because you plan to leave this job off your resume and you're just there for the paycheck-- but the world just isn't as large as we sometimes think. What if you're applying for your dream job and the hiring manager turns out to be friends with your current manager? What do you think she's going to say about you?

It sounds trite, but while you're stuck there, do the best you can do with it. You just don't know where that might lead you (or what obstacles you might be creating for yourself otherwise).

asking boss for a loan

A reader writes:

I started working for my new employer on September 15, 2008. I was pregnant and I had to go on maternity leave on January 1, 2009. The company did not pay me while I was on maternity leave. I have financial problems and could not pay rent. The owner switched off my electricity and I decided to go back to work. I started working again in mid-February, with my baby one month old. I would like to ask my boss if the company can help me with a loan to sort out my financial crisis. Is it right to ask this of a boss?

First, I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

Do you have any other options besides asking your boss? Family, friends, others you could ask for help? In general, I don't think it's a good idea to ask your employer for a loan or pay advance, especially when you're new to the company.

Of course, if you're truly desperate, you're desperate, and you've got to do what you've got to do -- but I would exhaust all other options first (including looking into public assistance programs and bank loans, if you're eligible).

But I'll be honest: I've never been in this situation (on either side) and I might be wrong about this. What do other people think?

I wish you the best of luck, and I hope things turn around for you soon.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

boss makes schedule without checking with employee

A reader writes:

Since I have worked at the company where my stepfather and stepbrother also work, my boss has written me in for shifts without asking me if I am available. Occasionally he asks a family member rather than me, but lately he has not even been doing that. I'm 17 and have been working there for over a year now. I am wondering if it's actually allowed as I can't even back out when I have other commitments as the boss claims he "needs" me to come in.

You need to sit down with your boss and get clear on how scheduling is supposed to work. There are some businesses where the boss simply makes a schedule from week to week, and employees are expected to be available for the shifts they're scheduled for. You need to find out if your company is one of those.

If it is, ask him what you're supposed to do if you're scheduled for a shift you can't work. Will he let you find someone else to cover your shift? Will he let you tell him in advance when you can and can't be scheduled for the upcoming schedule period?

First, get clear on this so you understand what the expectations are (and can decide if they're conditions you want to work under). Next, tell him that you understand the temptation to ask your relatives about your availability but that it causes problems because they don't always know your schedule like you do. Ask him to talk with you directly, like he would with any other employee.

You're 17, so you might not be sure quite how to open this conversation or how it should go. It should sound something like this:
You: Joe, do you have a few minutes to talk to me about our scheduling?

Boss: Sure, what's up?

You: I've noticed you've been scheduling me for shifts at times when I'm not always available, and I wanted to get clear on how this works. Can I tell you in advance about times when I won't be available? Or do you need me to plan to always be available during certain slots? What's the best way for me to handle this?

Boss: I generally assume you're available any time except Saturdays. It's hard for me to accommodate everyone's preferences, so I've ended up just doing the schedule and expecting people to follow it. (This is the worst case scenario response, but he may say something far more accommodating.)

You: Okay, I understand. Is there any flexibility, if there's an occasional outside commitment that I really need to keep?

Boss: Well, you can check with me ahead of time, but make sure you check before Mondays, because that's when I do the schedule, and I don't like to change it after that.

You: Thanks, I appreciate it. Also, by the way, I know sometimes you've asked my stepfather or stepbrother about my schedule, but they often don't really know for sure -- so would you talk with me directly, so we can avoid them accidentally giving you bad information?
Basically, be straightforward, and don't be demanding. And if you don't like his answers, you can politely ask if there are alternatives (keeping in mind that there may not be). Your goal is to get clear on what you should expect, and then from there you can decide if this works for you or not. Good luck!

Monday, February 16, 2009

managing women from a douchebag's perspective

I'm not in the habit of leaving angry comments on other people's blogs, but Brazen Careerist today features a post called "Managing Women: From A Guy's Perspective," and I couldn't help myself.

From what I can tell, it was written by a 14-year-old boy. It includes gems like:
  • All women love chivalry!
  • Male bosses should compliment their women employees on their appearance!
  • Women are so catty!
Are there differences between men and women? Sure, and it's possible to talk about those differences in an intelligent, nuanced way. This article isn't either of those things.

choosing end date when resigning

A reader writes:

I am leaving my job within the next month. I would like to carry over my end date into a new month in order to stay eligible for benefits within the next month. When I give a 2 week notice, is it 10 working days and can I give my notice mid-week?

Typically, two weeks notice means 10 business days, and you can give it any time during the week that you want.

However, be aware that employers can handle this however they want; your boss is free to tell you that they don't need you to work the full two weeks and your last day will be this Friday -- or even today.

Companies vary widely in how they handle this. Personally, I am a big fan of letting people work their entire notice period, even when they give months of notice -- because it's very helpful to me to be able to get a head start on the hiring process before the person is gone. However, there are some circumstances where I'd have a resigning employee leave faster than their notice period, such as a new-ish employee who is still being trained (since there's no point in continuing to train someone who is about to leave) or a poor performer.

Other companies do things differently. Your best bet is to pay attention to how your employer has handled other employees who resign. Are people shown the door immediately? Pushed out earlier than they would have otherwise planned to leave? Allowed to work their full notice period?

In any case, don't assume that you control the selection of your last day once you give notice (especially if you're deliberately manipulating it in order to extend benefits, something your employer might not be thrilled about).

unreasonable sick leave policy?

A reader writes:

I work for a well-known hospital in New York City. The company administers an employee satisfaction survey every year, and for the past few years there had been an increasingly negative response to the policies concerning sick leave. We accrue 90 hours of sick time a year (twelve 7.5 hour days). The original policy tied the number of days that you were out sick to 20% of your performance evaluation which, in turn, directly impacted your raise. This year, the HR department revised the policy, stating that it was no longer tied to your performance evaluation. However, any absences over 4 days within a 12 month period now result in disciplinary action. Here is the breakdown:

Over 4 days - counseling
Over 6 days - verbal warning
Over 8 days - written warning
Over 10 days - final warning
Over 12 days - termination

I assure you that I am not exaggerating in the least. How is it that the hospital can give us 90 hours of sick leave a year and then fire someone if they use it? There is no standing requirement that employees turn in a doctor's note unless they are out more than three days consecutively. I might add that the nature of my work is very stressful in that we deal with a high volume of very sick patients. Is this even legal?

It's legal but parts of it are not particularly wise or fair. Basically, the hospital is saying that if you use more than the number of sick days provided, it's grounds for termination. That's not that unusual; many employers draw a line in the sand about how much absenteeism is simply too much.

But what stands out to me about this policy is that there are various disciplinary measures well before an employee reaches that point. Why give you 12 sick days if you're going to start getting warned after using only four of them? It's silly and sends a message that you don't really have the 12 sick days they claim you have.

(I am assuming, by the way, that the employer makes the legally-required exceptions for FMLA, etc.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

thank-you note for not being laid off?

A reader writes:

My husband has been successfully employed by the same company for 13 years. Due to the economic climate, the company has been forced to lay-off 14% of their staff. Fortunately, my husband’s job has been spared, and at least for the moment, we feel that his job is secure. Would it be appropriate for me, his wife, to write a thank-you note to his employer expressing my gratitude for my husband’s employment? This company has always been very good to us and I feel as though this would be a genuine gesture, but am not sure how professional it would appear.

It's an understandable impulse, but you, as the wife of the employee, should not write a thank-you note to the company. As a spouse, you really shouldn't have any official interaction with the company, and a thank-you note for employing your husband would come off strangely. Your husband should interact with the company on his own behalf. (And remember, the company isn't doing charity work; they're presumably employing your husband for good reason.)

However, your husband could certainly tell his manager how much he appreciates working at the company -- couched not in terms of the economy but rather in terms of whatever he does truly enjoy about the company. Any manager in this situation would appreciate hearing an employee affirming that he loves his job.

Monday, February 9, 2009

how to deal with a coworker being fired

A reader writes:

How do you deal with it when a coworker is fired? Today I was talking with my coworker and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. He went into a meeting with our boss, and next thing I knew he was gone, and an E-mail was sent to the whole department saying that as of today he no longer works here. I don't know what happened, but it surprised me, worried me, and made me nervous about my job.

Want to read the rest of this post? Head on over to U.S. News & World Report, where I answer this question -- and please leave your own feedback in the comments there.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

boss vacationing while business struggles

A reader writes:

I am an office manager of nine years in a small doctor's practice. I have one other co-worker, who is going on her 11th year. With the failing economy, our boss cut our holiday bonus in half, most recently took three months to deposit our simple IRA contributions and matches, took our paid holidays for 2009, and cut our hours.

Now he is thinking of taking a vacation. How do I address the situation without attacking him personally? He has asked his dedicated employees to sacrifice and said he "can barely pay bills," and now a family vacation is in the pipeline. When the doctor is away, there are NO patients and no income coming in. HELLOO??? Is it just me?

Well, ultimately this guy owns the business, and it's his to run as he sees fit (aside from the delay in depositing your IRA contributions, which may not be legal in your state). So I think you've got to keep that in mind as you think about the situation.

Regarding the family vacation, you presumably don't know all the details. Maybe his wife is paying for it. Maybe he promised her he'd go for reasons too personal too share with employees, despite the hardship it may cause the business. We don't know. Plus, he may quite reasonably feel that he needs to get some time off in order to do his job well; most people do.

All that said, I do think you can talk to him about the situation, but it's important that you keep all the above in mind, since that will influence your approach. You could say something like, "I don't know if you realize this, but Sharon and I are both very stressed out about the financial troubles we're having, and we couldn't help but get concerned when we realized that we won't have any patients during the time you're on vacation. Do you have ideas for other things we can do with that time that will help contribute?" Keep in mind that the last thing this guy may need is his employees pressuring him about a situation he may not be able to do anything about; keep the focus on how you can help, not on nagging him.

All that said, please start looking around for other jobs. The signs you're seeing are ones of a struggling business, and you would be smart to start looking for escape routes now.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

is my boss wrong to consult with someone else about my work?

A reader writes:

I work in an 8-person field office of a major national nonprofit. Our office is currently in the midst of a major collaborative initiative which has placed increasing demands on our Executive Director's (my boss) time. My boss is so busy cultivating relationships with volunteers and funders that he spends less time on the day-to-day management of the organization. I would say that the amount of time he spends on these activities is too high, even by nonprofit organization standards. Morale is low as people are feeling spread too thin.

Over the past few months, he has increasingly leaned on one of my colleagues to oversee his day-to-day management responsibilities. In many ways, my colleague has become a de facto deputy director. I respect my colleague, but I was angered to learn that my boss gave her a draft of my annual work plan for feedback without telling me first. I was particularly upset that my boss gave me additional responsibilities based on my colleague's feedback with involving me in the discussion. Work plan development has always been an employee-manager activity in the past. Am I out of line for feeling upset that he shared my work plan with her without first telling me? I don't mind her input, but I'm upset at the lack of communication and now have questions about about how my performance will be monitored and by whom.

It sounds like your boss, at least for right now, needs someone in a deputy director type position. It's not good for anyone if the executive director doesn't have enough time for day-to-day management. And it sounds like this colleague is someone whose skills he respects, so it's not unnatural for him to be leaning on her in this situation.

However, clearly he could have done a better job of communicating that. There's a good chance your colleague is thinking the same thing; she's been put in a potentially awkward position herself, by being asked to share pieces of the managerial burden without the boss explaining that to anyone.

My advice to you is to approach your boss and say that you hadn't realized he'd be bringing your colleague in on your work plan, and although you didn't mind it, you'd like some clarification about how you should view her role. You must be non-defensive when you say this, both in tone and wording. Do not sound like you're objecting to it; you're just seeking information. (If you sound defensive and he's actually about to announce that she's becoming the deputy director, things are going to get off on the wrong foot. Plus, you don't want to give your boss the impression that your ego is getting in the way of your ability to appreciate that this may be a smart way to help him manage his time.)

Frankly, if you respect this colleague and think she could do a good job as a manager, you might even suggest that to your boss as a solution. You mentioned that he doesn't have enough time to do his job properly and that people's morale is suffering, this might be something that could help. (That depends hugely on her skills as a manager, however. Don't suggest it if you don't see potential for to be good at it.)

I actually once got promoted into a job that way. My boss had way too much work on his plate and desperately wanted to get out of his day-to-day management responsibilities, which he was always giving short shrift to anyway. I was in the process of figuring out that I really liked managing, and so he created a #2 position and put me in it. It turned out that I loved all the stuff that he had hated and paid attention to the things he had avoided, so it was a win-win for everyone ... except the people who didn't adjust well to having a peer become their manager. Don't be in that group, if that ends up being the direction this goes in.

But really, just talk to the guy and ask how you should relate to her.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

how to get a job by being nice

Go read Rafael J. Hernandez's post on "How To Get A Job By Being Nice." It's brilliant.

Monday, February 2, 2009

how to juggle a job offer when you're waiting for another

A job offer is usually welcome -- unless it comes while you're waiting for the one you really want. How long can you put off the first company while waiting to hear from another, and what are the ethics involved in taking the first offer only to rescind your acceptance later? Head on over to U.S. News & Weekly Report, where my post today addresses these questions -- and as always, please leave your own thoughts in the comments over there.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

South Bend Tribune hates its employees

Think you work for a micromanager? Check out what the South Bend (Indiana) Tribune has decided to do to its staff. Here's an excerpt from the memo the paper's management distributed last week, explaining their new "communication" system:
This is targeted foremost to all reporters, who would send a daily e-mail the last thing before they leave for the day (or at the latest, the very first thing - 8 a.m. - the next day). These e-mails would go not only to your most immediate editor but to at least five editors, including me. This daily e-mail would lay out specifically what you accomplished that day, what you need to finish or follow up on the next day, and what you plan to do that next day. We mean everything, from the most mundane county council advance to the beginning interview in the most ambitious investigation that may or may not see the light of day (or publication). It also would allow you to bring up any other communication you need to share. From there, yes, your editor will be able to tell how busy you were, but more importantly, he or she will know your accomplishments and your struggles. From that, our morning planning meetings can be even more efficient.
They then provide a helpful and horrifying example of what such daily updates should look like:
Checked e-mail; Checked logs at Mishawaka, county and South Bend; Responded to accident at Ironwood and bypass; Called Mishawaka Detective Bureau about child neglect case (records would not provide narrative since it is under investigation by CPS); Called Mishawaka woman struck Monday by hit-and-run driver while she was getting into her car; Wrote story on woman struck by hit-and-run driver; Placed call to Trent about two rape cases that were on log (he was not in this morning); left message. Called Humane Society of St. Joseph County to see if any animals were taken out of home in Mishawaka where elderly lady was livign in filth surrounded by several full litter boxes; was told someone would be in contact. Updated productivity report; Spoke briefly with Trent about rape cases on log - appears to be teenage girl covering up for sexual escapades; Spoke with John Pavlekovich about concerns regard retirement story - presumably ironed everything out; Pow-wowed with Dave about year-end crime stories - I get homicides! -- start working on lead smelter reporting, call health dept. again, talk to lead director, no idea what I'm talking about; -- call IDEM local office, am transferred to regional office, leave message for public relations people; -- am asked to work on Goshen beating story; -- call Goshen PIO, discuss YouTube video beating; -- try to find number for YouTube mom, search phone books, internet; -- do web update; -- call Goshen schools superindendent, leave message; -- go to video bootcamp lunch; -- research YouTube beating posted by teens, leave message for national anti-Internet abuse lady; -- reach other woman affilated with anti-Internet abuse, talk to about story; -- call super Intendant again, leave second message; -- go to 2 p.m. interview with judge Scopelitis, wait forever in rotunda because he's in hearing, finally leave and reschedule; -- call back superindendant, finally reach for story; -- find address for YouTube mom; -- write YouTube video story, file story; -- give graph to john stump for lead smelter story; -- Drive out to Goshen to try and find YouTube mom, get lost, turn around, find trailer park, can't find address, finally find address, family no longer lives there, drive back. Planning to come in around 9 tomorrow.
Who thought this was a good idea? It would be faster to just tell their employees directly that they believe every single one of them to be lazy, incompetent, and untrustworthy. (Also, am I the only one particularly taken with the fact that these updates are to be sent to five editors each day? I would love to hear the reasoning on that.)

(Hat tip: Gawker)