Category Archives: Career Tips

Mentoring – both Personal and Organizational


 Can you remember a time when someone gave you support, or important counsel, sound advice or positive reinforcement on something you were doing?

Encouragement is an important support and guidance motivation given by a more knowledgeable person (such as a mentor) in helping a less experienced or knowledgeable person (mentee) to develop in some capacity.

Many times, parents are mentors. They have the experience and know-how in “How the World Turns”. They may have gone to college, experienced love relationships, had children, bought houses, paid taxes, and countless other things. Hopefully, they are good mentors who encourage, support and guide their children in their everyday challenges. Sometimes, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, or good family members are mentors. They are the ones to go to when one needs to know what can be done about a special issue; they either give good advice or advise options on how to work at it. We are indeed blessed if we have mentors in our lives.

What if we don’t have a mentor? There are occasions when ‘two heads are better than one’ and additional input is needed. How does one acquire a mentor? Are there different avenues or vehicles for finding one? Yes, there are.

There are personal mentors and organizational mentors.

The personal mentor: Sometime during your lifetime, someone may take a special interest in how you are accomplishing a task. It may be in a teacher or principal in school. It could be a leader or coach in an activity in an athletic or after-school activity. Or a girl or boy scout leader in a social club. Or perhaps a pastor or spiritual leader in a church affiliation. A mentor is usually someone older and more accomplished in the task you are endeavoring. He/she will give you feedback on how you are accomplishing; give you advice or hints/solutions on how to continue; or reinforce how you are progressing. This is a one-on-one relationship which lasts over the time of the task’s duration.

You might even seek someone out and ask them to be your mentor on a task. It doesn’t hurt to ask. Most people like to help and may feel honored that you chose them. If the person is agreeable, you could set up a schedule to go over the progress of what you are doing and the mentor can advise plusses and minuses. Depending on the personalities, this person could become a life-long mentor who can aid you in further tasks. Sometimes it evolves into a mentoring over a variety of life’s issues. Such an arrangement can benefit both the mentor and the mentee. And form a very special, honored relationship.

A mentor can be rewarded by watching the mentee ‘grow’ in his mastery of overcoming or attaining the reason for the guidance. The mentee can be rewarded by achieving the self esteem and confidence of mastering what he overcomes or attains. I have to note that a mentor does not want to live the life for the mentee and should set the tone to make sure that the mentee does not become dependent on the mentor’s good will. A mentor should not have to listen to lamenting and negative inputs. The mentor is there to support and guide, not encourage ‘wallow and whine’.

The organizational mentor:  Wikipedia defines mentor as:

“Mentoring is a process for the informal transmission of knowledge, social capital, and the psychosocial support perceived by the recipient as relevant to work, career, or professional development; mentoring entails informal communication, usually face-to-face and during a sustained period of time, between a person who is perceived to have greater relevant knowledge, wisdom, or experience (the mentor) and a person who is perceived to have less (the protégé)” (Bozeman, Feeney, 2007).

It is actually an agreement between a less experienced worker (mentee) and a business guru (mentor) in the company. Both understand that the purpose is for the mentor, through his or her own job experiences, to supply support and guidance to the mentee to aid in his/her career development. This is accomplished through human resource procedures which include matching temperaments, sharing written expectations, schedule guidelines, written goals and performance feedback.

Since they are ‘gurus’ in the company, mentors may be department heads or V-Ps and are giving up a slice of time from their busy schedules. They have worked hard to acquire business acumen and their schedules should be respected and not abused. One must never forget or not show for a mentor/mentee meeting. If there is a conflict, his/her office should be notified timely. Nor should a mentee use the mentor’s time to complain about the company or their personal gripes. This is a business meeting and although personal info sharing may arise, it is a meeting to combine goals and ambitions into work performance and advancement.

Most mentors who agree to programs like this show a desire and a willingness to give up time to help others, maintain a positive outlook, and are able to be realistic. Some business gurus may have mentoring as an objective on their own goals from their bosses if they need ‘soft skills’ in communicating with employees. They may need to hone up on listening skills and will thus have a strong interest in their own growth and self-development as well as their mentee. Business gurus usually have success orientation. That’s why they are where they are.

During my career development activities, I designed, implemented and maintained a mentoring program. I worked mainly with a department that encompassed state of the art technically skilled employees. These employees, in order to acquire additional integral business skills, development and promotion possibilities, had a distinct need to explore inter-related business disciplines.

For those who had interest, mentoring exchanges were established with them and department heads such as Finance, Security, Legal, Logistics, Purchasing, E-Commerce, or wherever their interests were. It was very successful for those who were determined and focused. Some of them, with their sought-after technical skills were offered positions in the departments of their choice who had a need for the technical end of the specialized business. They are all inter-related at some point. And it helped the company reduce lay-offs by transferring valuable but excess tech persons to another discipline. A discipline that they were not only interested in, but had the background and experience of already knowing the company procedures. A win-win. This project was one of the most satisfying of all my projects to view first-hand, the many positive aspects and results of these relationships.

In another article on mentoring, I will outline the agreement arrangements between mentors and mentees and what each expects or should expect from the other.

© Marie Coppola  August 2014

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace ~ And How you Handle it


From a U.S. perspective, sexual harassment in the workplace still exists, and it is under better control due to stricter rules and regulations put in place by companies and businesses to protect employees against this invasive behavior. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) describes sexual harassment as a form of gender discrimination that is in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

In 1998, the U.S. Supreme Court made employers more liable for sexual harassment of their employees. As a result, most companies offer sexual harassment prevention training programs and 97% have a written sexual harassment policy. The number of grievances filed with the EEOC has gradually decreased over the last decade. Approximately 15,000 sexual harassment cases are brought to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) each year. According to them, the number of sexual harassment complaints filed by men has more than tripled in recent years. Currently, approximately 11% of claims involve men filing against female supervisors. In the mid 2000’s, grievances dropped to under 12,000. It has been estimated that only 5 to 15% of harassed women formally report problems of harassment to their employers or employment agencies such as the EEOC.

Counselors in the workplace are often the first person an employee seeks out when someone is acting inappropriately to him or her. In a recent survey, only 29% of women who said they tried to ignore overt sexual suggestions responded that it ‘made it better’. Over 61% of the women said that what made it better and was most effective, was to tell the offender firmly and directly — to “STOP IT”.

There are many offenses of sexual harassment; sexual harassment is not about sex and what bothers one person won’t necessarily bother someone else. Some think that any unwanted touch, sexual comments, or sexual attention is considered sexual harassment. Communicating and telling someone that these acts are offensive to you, may stop the action right then and there. Some people ‘test the waters’ and see how far they can go with individuals in the office.

Also, the above conduct is not sexual harassment if it is welcome or permitted. If you flirt back and indulge in exchanging off-color jokes, it is not sexual harassment if you decide a joke went ‘over the line’ and offended you. You’ve already given out liberal boundaries. It is important to communicate (either verbally, in writing, or by your own actions) to the harasser that the conduct makes you uncomfortable and that you want it to stop.

Sexual harassing behavior may be common, but it is not “normal” Here are some examples:

1] Verbal or written: Comments about yours or others’ clothing, or your personal behavior, or a person’s body; sexual or sex-based jokes; requesting sexual favors or repeatedly asking a person out; sexual innuendoes; telling rumors about a person’s personal or sexual life; threatening a person.

2] Physical: Assault; impeding or blocking movement; inappropriate touching of a person or a person’s clothing; kissing, hugging, patting, stroking.

3] Nonverbal: Looking up and down a person’s body; derogatory gestures or facial expressions of a sexual nature; or following a person.

4] Visual: Posters, drawings, pictures, screensavers or emails of a sexual nature; most companies have standards of what you can put on your walls.

If the offensive actions above are directed to you, then the following is suggested:

1] Demand that the specific behavior stop. Be direct, firm and say “NO”.

2] Don’t make excuses why you don’t want the behavior; this implies that you would would welcome it otherwise. Don’t protect the harasser or pretend nothing has happened; it has.

3] Stand by your principles and state them. Harassers are good at making excuses and wanting to talk about it. Refuse to discuss the issue with them or be manipulated into thinking you are the wrong one.

4] The focus is on the harasser’s behavior – not yours.

5] Be strong; make eye contact and stand tall. Don’t smile – this is serious; not a social visit. If the harasser tries to make physical contact with you, grasp his or her arm away and say, “NO”. “DO NOT TOUCH ME”.

6] Tell others about the ordeal(s). If you are silent, it not only protects the harasser, but may instill him or her to be bolder.

The conduct of the harasser must either be severe or it must be pervasive to be sexual harassment. A single incident is probably not sexual harassment unless it is severe. If you feel it is, document any harassments and keep a log of when and what happened; include dates and if there were any witnesses. Save your emails on a CD and bring it home. Also bring home any notes, mail or emails that are related even if they are anonymous.

Try to have a buddy available as a deterrent or as a witness when this person tries to approach you. Document any actions involving your harassment if the harasser is in a supervisory position and subsequently gives you a poor evaluation or demotions, and keep copies of them. Likewise, keep similar positive evaluations or performance appraisals before the alleged incidents that will show changed behavior of the perpetrator’s part.

Go ahead with formal complaints with Human Resources and EEO, if it continues. Try to have as much documented proof and/or witnesses who can verify what has happened or seek others who may have had the same problem with the harasser. Consult with a legal entity if you suspect violence or stalking. Remember to stay calm. You did nothing wrong. Staying calm is important to your cause so as not to create a hostile environment in the workplace that it becomes a problem for the department and you become the problem, too. The harasser is hoping you do that to keep the spotlight off of them. The odds are on your side to have this situation remedied.

True Case: A long-time married employee kept asking another married employee for constant coffee breaks, lunch, dinner, etc. She always turned him down. She came to Human Resources when she asked him not to keep coming to her office and he still did, still asking. He started to put his arm around her and she asked him not to. She filed a complaint. She noticed one weekend that he was driving around her neighborhood although he lived a far distance away from her. She filed a complaint with EEO and he was terminated; he lost his benefits as he was under retirement age and subsequently was divorced.

If you are being sexually harassed, do something today. You won’t lose your job. Don’t think it will go away, or worry if it is a supervisor or high level manager, that you will lose your job. You won’t. But they might.

references: Sexual Harassment Support ; and www.SexualHarassmentLawFirms.com

Marie Coppola Revised July 2014

What is a notary public and what are the qualifications and responsibilities?


The notary public is said to the oldest branch of the legal profession that exists in the world.

The office of the notary goes back to the Roman Empire and early history of the Catholic Church. The Romans developed the office and from that the Church devised it’s own system to handle civil matters after the fall of the Roman Empire.

The word notary is derived from Latin ‘nota’ — a system of shorthand developed by M. Tullius Tiro (103-3 B.C.) This method was used for agreements, conveyances and other instruments and they were described as ‘notarius’. Notarii were semi-officials whose numbers grew as the empire grew into a guild or company that had limited supervision, regulations and fees.

Notarii were also officers of the Catholic Church and Pope Clement IV appointed seven in Rome to describe the acts of martyrs who might suffer there. Later it was declared that the papal notaries could act in any country.

Notaries were known in England during the Middle Ages but since the law did not require deeds or other instruments in common use to be prepared, they were not needed by medieval law and therefore, not recognized. During the 17th century, common law became the supreme body of of law in England and the office of notary public became less important.

The settlers who left England to find a new life in the new world, brought with them the common law of England including the notary public. They were described as “…a notary public. who confirms and attests the truth of any deed or writing, in order to render the same more credible and authentic in any country whatever. And he principally made use of in courts of judicature and business relating to merchants. For a notary public is a certain kind of witness, and therefore, ought to give evidence touching such things as fall under his corporeal senses, and not of such matters as fall under the judgement of the understanding.”**

The early colonial charters started enacting laws affecting the office of the notary public. They designated an officer who was authorized to appoint notaries, defined their duties, settled their fees, and provided territorial limits of their jurisdiction and other matters.

So what do you do to become a Notary Public? It varies depending on which state you live in, and in other countries. Some countries require educational requirements or additional information. Since I was a notary in New Jersey, I will list that state’s requiremernts and rules to give you a flavor of qualifications, rules and responsibilities. Other states’ requirements and rules can be found on the web or at your town hall offices.

Example of one state:   Qualifications to be a Notary Public in the State of New Jersey:

must be 18 years or older.

must be a resident of New Jersey or a resident of an adjoining state who maintains, or is regularly employed in, an office in this State.

must not have been convicted of a crime under the laws of any state or the United States, for an offense involving dishonesty, or a crime of the first or second degree.

A notary public is appointed (commissioned) by the State Treasurer for a five-year period, and is sworn into office by the clerk of the county in which he/she resides. (usually a $25.00 fee). Appointments can be renewed for subsequent five-year periods.

Services that a duly commissioned and qualified (sworn) Notary Public performs in any county in N.J.:

Administer oaths and affirmations;  take acknowledgments; execute jurats for affidavits and other verifications; take proofs of deeds

…………….

The majority of notaries perform acknowledgements – witnessing the signature of a person or persons. To execute legally, these steps are necessary:   1) That the signer of a document appear before the notary, (you cannot acknowledge the signature of someone who is not present – not even a husband or a wife – you may be signing their house away without their knowledge!)   2) That the notary positively identify the signer, (as stated above, notaries cannot accept a previously signed/dated copy without witnessing the signature) and 3) That the signer both acknowledge the signature as his/hers, and that the signature is made willingly.

Identification documents are not required if: 1) the signer is personally known to the Notary, or 2) a credible witness, known to both the signer and notary, swears to the identity of the signer.

If the signer is not personally known, the notary ensures the signer appears before him/her and presents at least one form of identification that provides a physical description of the signer– ie., driver’s license.

Responsibilities of the Notary:

The notary reviews the document presented for completeness. This is not a formal legal review, such as would be performed by an accountant or an attorney. Rather, it is a review to ensure that there are no blanks in the document. Should blanks be discovered, the signer must either fill them in or strike them out by drawing a line or “X” through them. It is a quick view; the notary need not know the contents of the instrument; he/she merely is witnessing that the identified singer actually signed it.

Ensure that the signer understands the title of the document and is signing freely and willingly. By obtaining positive ID and asking brief questions as to the title and basic substance of the document, the notary can make these determinations.

Sign, date, and stamp an acknowledgment certificate The notary’s ink stamp should include the date on which the notary’s commission expires. The stamp should be placed next to, but not over, the notary’s signature. (If the notary does not have an ink stamp, his/her name and commission expiration date must be printed or typed on the certificate as indicated.)

Make a journal entry. *This is key and very important. The jornal entry provides evidence and an audit trail thereby protecting both the notary and the general public. Required information includes: 1. date and time of notary act, 2. type of act (i.e., acknowledgment), 3. title of document, 4. date document was signed, 5. signature; printed name and address of each signer, and if applicable, each witness, and 6. form of ID — e.g. identification document, personal knowledge, or credible witness.

Note: Journals should be bound to prevent tampering. Journals may be obtained from stationers or professional associations.

Charge only the statutory fee ($2.50). Actually, most notaries supply services free of charge, especially in corporate or banking settings. I have seen notary fees for $15.00 or $25.00 in some business establishments.

Actions Notaries are prohibited from doing:

Never pre-date an action. The notary may never date an action (acknowledgement, jurat, etc.,) prior to the execution (signature) date appearing on the document involved.

Never lend a journal, stamp, or other personalized notary equipment to another individual.

Never prepare a legal document or give advice on legal matters, or matters pertaining to land titles. This includes the preparation of pleadings, affidavits, briefs and any other submissions to the court.

Never, in the capacity as a notary public, appear as a representative of another person in a legal proceeding.

Never, in the capacity as a notary public, act for others in the collection of delinquent bills or claims.

————————-

**Reference: Manual for Notaries Public of New Jersey/American Society of Notaries; NEW JERSEY NOTARY PUBLIC MANUAL

Marie Coppola © July 2014

 

10 Tips for That First Day on the New Job


 

You finally landed that job you were praying you would get, and Monday is here and it’s your first day. Here are some tips to help you ‘settle in’ those new digs with confidence and a positive attitude, along with some caution.

1) Try to arrive at work at least 10 or 15 minutes before the normal working hours. This not only gives you time to settle in, turn your computer on, or listen to voice mail messages. It also gives you a relaxed frame of mind for friendly good mornings instead of rushing in at the last minute or a few minutes late and get a reputation for ‘always being late’. Employees who arrive before the workday begins are usually the ones who get good reviews and/or promotions. Likewise advice on leaving at the end of the day. Plan on staying 15 minutes or so after work if possible; never leave early – somone always loves to make an issue about that and the reputation will stick; the people who usually get ahead in a workplace arrive a little earlier and leave a little later.

2) Start the new job with a To Do List. This List itemizes tasks that may have been sent to you via email, voicemail or verbally. Jot it down so it is not forgotten and when you have a few minutes, prioritize the List by importance. If you don’t get to it all that day, start the next day’s List with the undone items so they can have first attention. Keep a file folder with the checked-off ‘Done’ items, date they were completed, with any information that may needed in the future for follow-up. Not only do ‘To Do’ Lists give you a reputation for getting things done, they also give you a feeling of accomplishment as you go over the list and view the things you did that day. On a hectic and busy day, those accomplishments will help neutralize the feeling that you ‘got nothing done today’.

3) Go slow getting to know your new co-workers. In your ‘being new’ nervousness, you may reveal more about yourself than you really want to. You may be telling your life history to the office gossiper. If you are asked to lunch with the group, be neutral to everyone, polite and friendly. The work environment is revealed at lunchtime, and you will hear inside scoops of what is going on with work, projects and people. Don’t make judgments or remarks. Wait until you get to know the people and the issues and even then, don’t make judgments or remarks. And don’t repeat what you hear at lunch or in the halls to your cubicle co-workers. Gossip spreads through offices faster than forest fires. And your name will be attached to it.

4) Go to lunch at your appointed lunch time and take the one-half hour or whatever the rule is. Some companies allot 45 minutes or one hour for lunch. Long-time employees may stretch their lunch times from the one-half hour lunch to a 45 minute or one hour lunch. That’s their choice, but as a new employee, you don’t want to get a reputation that you ‘take long lunches’. It’s a title that you may earn quickly and it will stick with you. Your supervisor will know about it sooner than you think. Co-workers usually stagger lunch times so that someone is always in the office, and you will get off on the wrong foot in your office if someone is waiting for you to come back from lunch and you’re late and taking time away from their own lunch.

5) Start off your new job with a team attitude. There are different ways to help someone out even if it is picking up their mail or copy order at office services. Your helpfulness will reflect back from your co-workers who will do the same for you. This becomes invaluable on a really busy day when you need an extra set of hands; kindness goes a long way and people react positively to it. When someone turns their back on being a team player with the rest of the group, the group usually reacts in the same manner.

6) If your office surroundings are efficient-situated…..which usually means a phone, PC, desk, and chair in a cubicle with only enough room to turn around in. You will hear others’ conversations on the phone and normal business interchanges during the day. Most office workers tune out these distractions, but it’s hard to tune out loud or noisy social gatherings or constant social talking on the phones and/or laughing. A certain amount of sociability is expected in the office, but if you constantly stop at someone’s station and gab or allow someone to come to yours and do the same, someone is going to complain about the ‘noise’. And if you’re new, you don’t want to start off with that image. If someone lingers, you might just say, that you need to get something done and you’ll ‘see them later’. Don’t socialize more than you have to at work. You’re there to do a job, not listen to someone’s problems or the great time they had at a party last night. Or to talk on the phone with personal calls or send zany emails. Companies monitor both calls and PCs, so be careful what you say and write.

7) Every office has a Don Juan Casanova or Flirty Feline who will try to engage you somehow. They can’t help it – it’s in their genes. Be friendly, but keep your distance. The more time you give them, the more time they will devote to hanging around you. Be busy, and they will finally move on to the next new person. Don’t be flattered or taken in; you are one of many.

8)  Keep wearing to work the kind of clothes you wore on the interview. Now that you have the job, you don’t want to slip out of your good shoes and  wear athletic shoes and sweats to the office. Most offices have dress codes or ‘business attire’ or ‘business casual’  which is a suit or pants, shirt and tie for men and suits, dresses, or pants outfits for women. Leave the décolletage necklines home as well as stretch pants that reveal all. Jeans may be allowed on ‘Casual Day’ but don’t wear them on any other day. The saying goes “Dress for the job you want to have” and that’s pretty good advice. Good grooming and neat appearance go a long way in the office. You never know who is going to stop in the office that day or what meeting your boss may ask you to attend in his or her place.

9) Never discuss with your co-workers how much money you make or what your bonus was or the percentage of your merit raise. Salary levels are the same for most positions, but other factors may reflect different salaries for you and the person next to you who do the same kind of work. That person may have more advanced education or a degree that requires a specialty in their work or they may have been given a larger starting salary than you if they had more experience. Sometimes an employee is not given extra money for the same work you both do, but may have been given an extra week vacation as a negotiation factor in employing them for less pay than what they were getting. There are many variables in salaries and it’s only going to cause stress if workers compare salaries. Having worked on compensation issues and raises myself, I could not believe hard workers getting a lower merit raise than someone who did not work as hard getting a higher one. My boss always told me to just kick the desk when I saw glitches like that – it was beyond our control. I did kick the desk a lot. Avoid this upset — don’t ask and don’t tell.

10) As a new employee, you will need to find out about the company your work for in a short amount of time. Read the annual report and study the organizational charts. Find out where people sit so you aren’t wandering around the building, getting flustered and nervous. Find out what the pecking order is so you don’t mistake a Chief Executive Officer for a co-worker. A new worker once turned unknowingly to a vice-president and complained that ‘this place is a nuthouse’. It became a joke between them, but not all V-Ps have sense of humors like this one did. Tread lightly until you know the waters. Put your best foot forward, as they say, and you will be an asset to the company you work for – and be rewarded as such.

Remember – statistics show that it can take up to six months before you feel knowledgeable about what you are doing.   Good luck!

©Marie Coppola  March 2014

Add ‘Core Competencies’ to your work profile, resume & performance appraisal

With emphasis on downsizing positions and the increase of technology in the workplace, businesses in the past ten years or so, have implemented core competencies to replace standard resume language, such as achievements (titles, depth of work) knowledge (education) and expertise (previous experience).

Competencies refer to capabilities, skills, abilities, and proficiencies including expertise and experience (depth and breadth). Competencies are broken down in two types: technical and non-technical.

Technical Competencies are the actual skills and experiences listed on a person’s resume.

Non-technical competencies are usually defined as professional and personal skills, including motivational values. Employees can be assessed in their competency interests and levels as well as for further development. Many companies provide competency development for new supervsors or managers.

Businesses have training programs and developmental programs designed to assess and improve leadership skills through developing core competencies. The employee will learn to enhance a strength, bring a medium skill to a fuller strength, work on a weakness or untested area or compensate for an overused strength.

The purpose is to bring employees to a higher level and invoke a competitive edge in the business world.

Some core competencies for all employees are:   Initiative and Creativity;   Judgment; Cooperation/Teamwork;   Quality of Work;   Reliability;   Commitment to Safety; and  Support of Diversity.   Many of these competencies are important for supervisory and/or managerial positions.

Some employee job-specific core competencies are: Job Knowledge/Technical Knowledge; Quantity of Work;  Communication;  Customer Service;  Problem Solving,  Attention to Detail; Flexibility;  Organization,  Staff Development;  Quality Control,  Good Feedback and  Innovation.

Some competencies for Higher-Level Management are: Values and Ethics;  Strategic Thinking; Communication with subordinates,  partners, organizations;  Financial and Organizational Management;  Budget and Resource Management.

Core competencies can work for you in retooling your resume and future job expansions.  They are also used as objectives in performance reviews.

Marie Coppola ©  Revised December 2013

Ref: Career Architect; Fermilab

 

Be a Hospitalist – A New Emerging Healthcare Career

 

What exactly is a hospitalist? The definition of a hospitalist according to the National Association of Inpatient Physicians is stated as: “A physician whose primary professional focus is the general medical care of hospitalized patients”.

S(he) can be a D.O. (osteopathic physician) or an M.D. (allopathic physician). Hospitalists may engage in clinical care, teaching, research or leadership in the field of general hospital medicine.

They are an emerging role in today’s American health care system. Hospitalists are onsite physicans and work around the clock caring for inpatients – their specialty. Demographics on hospitalists are: Young male and female U.S. medical school graduates (87 %) and are about 40 years of age. They are predominantly male (73%) and 82% of them are trained in internal medicine – as a D.O. (osteopathic physician) or an M.D. (allopathic physician).

Since 1996, the number of hospitalists has increased from about 500 to about 15,000, and the number was expected and has increased to about 30,000 in 2010, according to the Society of Hospital Medicine. These physicians provide high-quality medical care from admission to discharge.

They can interpret all lab work, specialist exams, and diagnostic tests and test results. They answer questions and ease patients’ concerns and provide the primary physician with detailed reports of their patients’ hospital stays, and recommend follow-up care. Because of their care, a patient’s hospital stay may be shortened, patients receive a greater consistency of attentive care and have more ‘personal’ contact.

Here is a Salary.Com Wizard page for hospitalist salaries. Just enter your zip code.

http://swz.salary.com/SALARYWIZARD/layoutscripts/swzl_selectjob.aspx?txtKeyword=hospitalist&txtZipCode

Marie Coppola Revised November 2013

Acid Indigestion, Heartburn and Stress


 

Antacid sales top $ 10 billion annually! And acid indigestion plagues a third of U.S. population. Even when the economy is in better shape, acid indigestion and heartburn plagues about a third of the U.S. population. About 100 million Americans experience heartburn every month; about 15 million fighting it at least once a day.

What causes heartburn and indigestion? Eating on the run, skipping meals, eating junk food, nervous stomach from stress and volatile emotions such as anger or frustration can adversely affect your digestive system. How can you get your stomach to calm down after a stress-filled and / or frustrating day? Does stress at your job cause your digestive problems?

Employee surveys suggest that over half a million people believed they were suffering from stress, anxiety or depression, or some physical illness resulting from stress, caused or made worse by their work.

A busy workload, multi-tasking or managerial position can keep you motivated and create energies needed for such responsibilities. Although this kind of stress can reinforce commitment to your work, it can affect you negatively when stress becomes excessive or uncontrolled. Some indications of negative stress can be apparent by personality changes or behavior in work habits.

Stress is a response to pressure. Over a period of time, this can lead to under-performance, chronic sickness, heart disease or psychological damage or even major illness or death. Managers and co-workers should be aware of these signs which can create problems within the company. People under stress show such physical signs as headaches, increased blood pressure, panic attacks, anxiety, depression, and indigestion.

Stress can affect decision-making, inability to concentrate, spurts of irritability or aggression and changes in self-confidence. Work relationships can be affected, cooperation with others may diminish and stress could lead to either overworking or the opposite — taking time off in increased sick days. Good employers and managers will recognize this and take appropriate supportive action.

Americans have made antacids a major category in a typical drug store’s merchandise mix. Many people carry antacids around with them during the day in case they get bad heartburn, indigestion or stomach distress. If you take Tums regularly, large amounts of calcium carbonate-containing antacids can affect the balances of calcium and acid in the body and damage your kidneys. You should not take antacids over long periods as you could have a more serious ailment such as a stomach problem, or peptic ulcer disease.

What can you do to reduce heartburn and indigestion? You can try the following to reduce the stress associated with meals. If you get stressed in the office, do not eat in your office. Try to remove yourself from the stressful environment . Get away from your desk and walk or drive to another location to get your food. The walk should be made at a leisurely pace and if possible outside in a quiet environment.

Do not lunch at a busy restaurant as it can also add to your stress. Once you get your food do not take it back to the worksite. Find a quiet place to sit down and eat your food at a slow pace. This may be hard at first but a simple technique is to chew each bite of food ten time before swallowing. When you have finished your meal take your time getting back to your office. You will be surprised at how much this will relieve your indigestion and reduce your stress or anxiety. Upon returning to the office, you may be surprised to find that you can work more efficiently.

Going home, relax by breathing deeply and stretching your muscles. If you dine alone, put on some nice, relaxing music. Even if you are not use to it, say grace. It doesn’t have to be formal, just gratitude for the food and for your blessings. Counting your blessings negates the negativity and stress stored up. Don’t watch TV or listen to the news. That in itself will give you indigestion.

If you dine with family, concentrate on the positive and happy experiences of the day, not the negative or complaints. Use humor and good cheer. Laughter and happiness are good for digestion and relaxation. Have a glass of wine or after-dinner cordial with your mate or partner and spend me minutes alone if you have children. Bring the tempo down along with your blood pressure. Tomorrow is another day. You can dispel the stress from today instead of storing it up and adding it to tomorrow’s.

© Marie Coppola September 2013

Jesus Christ CEO – Leadership Exemplar – A Book Review


Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership 

Many books have been written about good examples of leadership. The book, Jesus, CEO; Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership by Laurie Beth Jones is well-written, and a highly useful example of the characteristics of biblically-based leadership applicable to our management world today. Her book brings together the hard and soft skills of love, inspiration and good will into any organization’s leaders or team leaders.

A preface in the introduction of this book states: “One person trained twelve human beings who went on to so influence the world that time itself is recorded as being before (B.C.) or after (A.D.) his existence.

 

This person worked with a staff that was totally human and not divine…a staff that in spite of illiteracy, questionable backgrounds, fractious feelings, and momentary cowardice went on to accomplish the tasks he trained them to do. They did this for one main reason – to be with him again.

His leadership style was intended to be put to use by any of us.” Much can be learned from Jesus’ visionary leadership style today as much as it was 2000 years ago.

The author, a successful businesswoman, believes that Jesus’ management style incorporates the best of masculine and feminine leadership styles, by harnessing spiritual energy, so that both males and females can become empowered leaders. She explains that this can be done by using three categories of strengths: 1] the strength of self-mastery; 2] the strength of action and 3] the strength of relationships.

The chapters are easily read and translate the process by which Jesus performed the above categories of strengths. Some of the chapter titles are:

Self-Mastery

His Statements are What he Becomes

He Kept in Constant Contact with his Boss

He Stuck to his Mission

He Believed in Himself

He Guarded his energy

He did not Waste Time Judging Others

He had a Passionate Commitment to the Cause

He Worked through his Fears

Strength of Action

He took Action

He had a Plan; He formed a Team

He Broke Ranks; He Came from Left Field and Branched Out

He Trained his Replacements

Strength of Relationships

He Clearly Defined their Work-related Benefits

He Treated them as Equals

He Held them Accountable

He Set an Example for Them

He Looked out for the Little Guys; He Served Them; Defended Them and Gave Them Authority

He Loved Them to the End

This book is described as a must-read for college business courses. It exhibits the core competencies of training and soft skills.

© Marie Coppola   August 2013

Date Someone From the Office? Not Always a Good Idea.

 

As an Human Resource (HR) administrator, I became aware of many office “relationships”.  Although it is estimated that 1/3 of office relationships end in marriage, they rarely did in our company  and most of them ended as a mini-soap opera which usually had high ratings for as long as it lasted. Even after the ‘in-house general public’ lost interest in the details, it still resounded in the halls at mention of a name:

“Is Hector* in Finance still after Giselle* in Graphics?”

Gossip dies slowly. Even after people leave the company, their names echo in the halls. And at lunch. Or in meetings.

It truly is not a good idea to date at the office. We are there to work, and budding relationships interfere with that mindset. If one has the misfortune to actually be in the department of the ‘lovebirds’, it can cause tension, stress and bad feelings amongst the group.

Especially if Giselle* takes longer lunch breaks with Hector*, or if Hector goes by her desk or office ten times in one hour.

And if Hector has supervision over Giselle, anything he does can be construed as favoritism. “Was Giselle’s raise higher than mine?” “I think Giselle had more days off than I did,” or “Giselle spends a lot of time of the phone with Hector while WE are we doing her work!” Infatuation or love does funny things to people. And love is better pursued out of the office than in the office. It simply does not belong there.

Many employees, in counseling conversations would confess their ‘office’ romance – perhaps because as HR administrator, this information is confidential and not to be repeated. Here are some dark aspects of a company or work romance. The situation is not an actual one but and been changed, but basically is the same idea.

An unattached department head’s interest in an unattached subordinate caused a discriminatory problem and charge that she favored ‘him’ by giving him a promotion that had not been ‘posted’. “‘He” was given special training and seminars to gain the position,” that was not posted nor offered to them”. “‘He’ was given ‘special projects'” and his car was seen overnight at her house.

Other details and allegations were made. The new manager eventually was transferred to another department and the department head was relocated. HR offered the remaining department employees further training and education.

The reason why many companies have rules against relationships in the office is due to facts similar to the scenario above. It is not uncommon. If the department head is worth keeping, they have to relocate her. The same with the man in his new role as a manager. That means juggling departments and groups and office space and many other details that can be costly to the company.

If they are not worth keeping, they may be let go and they might turn around and sue the company. The co-workers might sue the company for discrimination. Companies do not like lawsuits. This scenario costs lots of money and time – and companies are in the business to make money, not spend it on employees’ personal lives or trying to right personal wrongs. As a result, they make rules against relationships in the office and sometimes banning married couples working in the same department.

Companies also experience work violence which, unfortunately, is also not uncommon. Threats or vindictiveness against an ex-love interest are out there. Some even experience bodily threats and/or shootings. Love or lost-love are strong emotions that can be triggered if the stress of seeing that person every day is heightened in drama. The whole department – no, make that the whole company – can be targeted and put at risk.

Be friendly at work, but not too friendly. Companies have lawful access to your emails so keep them business-like and not sappy love notes. You could be admonished for it. They have the right to do so. And who wants their personal life to be the talking points of the day.   If you do end up in a work relationship, take it away from the office and not in the office.  The best advice is: “Leave your personal life at home and focus on your job.”  It could end in marriage OR unemployment.

*Names and situations are not true identities nor true examples.

Marie Coppola © Revised  May 2015

The Benefits of Attaining a Paralegal Certification


 

 If your college-age offspring tells you, “But I’m not sure what I want to be or do,” you might consider starting with paralegal training. It’s not that costly, and it can enhance a resume as well as assist in legal applications in whatever they do decide to do. Also, through the discipline and commitment of completing the course, it may be an incentive to a young adult to continue their educational training. Some paralegals continue on in their legal education and go on to law school.

The definition of a paralegal: of or relating to or being a person with specialized training who assists an attorney. Paralegals are also called legal assistants.

Paralegals may assist attorneys or assist in some legal capacity through a law office, corporate office or governmental agency. They may also specialize in subsets of legal work, such as real estate, mortgages, litigation, tax, environmental, personal injury, immigration or corporate entities.  Specialized legal training can be attained through education, in-house law or corporate training or work experience.

Some paralegals write briefs or court documents for attorneys, handle real estate closings, aid in probate matters, or prepare drafts for legal documents for review by attorneys. They may also draft mortgages, contracts, trust agreements, separation agreements and tax returns.

Freelance paralegals can work by the hour or on projects to supply research data for court cases or class action suits. The law changes frequently and court cases are determined by the latest rulings; paralegals research them usually by computer to substantiate their legal status. Legal assistants rely on legal research which is contained in computer software – I am most familiar with Lexis/Nexis. The information is used to retrieve, organize, and index various materials

Paralegals are never allowed to present cases in court, or to establish legal fees or offer legal advice.

How do you become a paralegal or legal assistant? You can evolve into the position by working in a legal department solely based on your work experience or in-house training by an employer.

Most paralegals have associate degrees in paralegal studies or a bachelor’s degree along with a paralegal certification. Some community colleges offer paralegal courses – they range from 6 months to 1 year. Along with having an interest in legal matters, it is helpful if an aspiring paralegal enjoys computer research, is investigative, articulate and has writing proficiency. It is essential to focus on details.

Having said all the above, I thoroughly recommend taking a paralegal course sometime during your lifetime. Why?  I will summarize at the end but for starters, I would recommend the 6 month course. It will be at a university and is usually accelerated or concentrated. It requires having a high school diploma. The courses usually consist of 3 nights a week for several hours. It is very diversified and I promise you that you will never be bored. It is taught mainly by several attorneys on many different subjects. Time allotted on each discipline is dependent on content and importance to legal work. The one that I participated in taught the following subjects     :

Business Law – encompassing Ethical Responsibilities and Codes and Regulations; Court Rules

Contracts – Binding; Not Binding; Bilateral; Oral and Written, including Notes

The Court System – Court Rules of State and U.S. Supreme Courts

How to Write Briefs; Wills and Probate; Legal Research

Real Estate Transactions including Mortgage Transactions; Zoning and Ordinances

Employment/Corporations – At-Will Termination; Discrimination; Employee Issues

Marriage Laws including Divorce, Annulments and Separations; Custody

Criminal and Negligence Litigation & Pleadings & Liabilities

Why do I think it’s a good idea to take a Paralegal Course?   This was the first course I took at university between high school and college. I was interested in legal proceedings and was actually working in a legal environment. (Some corporations will pay the course costs if it relates to your job responsibilities.)  The course gives a young adult many representations of life events – job regulations, life and insurance contracts, mortgages, real estate laws, and life — marriage to death.

In between, you learn about things necessary to know; such as, how minimum wages are determined; how the court system works; binding and invalid contraf icts; situations at work and what you can or can’t do about them; marriage laws, divorce and custody laws; buying a house, getting a mortgage, what happens if you die without a will or intestate, how to probate a will if someone else dies, your rights if you’re in an accident or someone gets hurt on your property.  And knowledge of them or how to get more information.

The other reason I recommend it to young adults is that if they don’t know what field or job family they are interested in, this course may whet their appetite to learn more of one of the spin-off disciplines – maybe real estate or corporate law or environmental law. There are endless opportunities.  As I worked in other job positions, I found that legal information was useful to me not only in legal, but in environmental and human resource disciplines. And you will use this information in other aspects of your life beyond your workplace. It can always be used as a fall-back second job working part-time as a freelance paralegal at a law firm. A law firm environment is entirely different from corporate law departments. Paralegals would benefit experiencing both atmospheres.

© Marie Coppola  2009