Sorry I’m late #truestorytuesday

3 of the best “I’m late” excuses…

1) I couldn’t poop this morning

2) I almost cut my nipple off

3) I just got out of jail this morning

I know you have some of your own to add so leave them in the comments! Happy Tuesday y’all!




But…But we’ve come so far!?

Why do I blog? So I can rant, duh! You guys know I’m always talking with my HR friends about what is going on in their organizations (I’m so curious) and for some reason this is coming up in more than one organization. Is it the change in weather? Whatever the reason, I don’t like it.

What is it you ask? This annoying phrase (or variation of this phrase) that absolutely makes my skin crawl: “Well, compared to where we used to be things are a million times better”… Sorry, come again? I know the mantra “Strive to be better than  you were yesterday… Only compare yourself to yourself…” blah blah blah. That doesn’t apply in business. Measuring your organizations success to yesteryear won’t get you very far in the business world for long.

In business, you have competitors. You have competitors that you don’t even know about, that know everything there is to know about you. You have competitors that are devoted to out doing you.

You have customers. Become complacent with business practices and force your competitors to leave you for a better vendor. Relationship shmelationship, you can’t provide then you don’t get to keep the business.

You have employees. You have employees that you need to take care of. Lose all of your work to a competitor and you’re no longer able to feed your employees.

What about this “metric” of success at a department level? “Oh that manager used to be so hard to deal with, at least now he doesn’t cuss us out”. He’s still scary and impossible to please. I don’t care if he is better than he used to be, I know how good he should be. “Our procedures may not be where they should,but they have come a long way.” Oh, but we know where they should be? Then let’s take them there! “We don’t have the best way to track our AAP, but it’s come a long way.” “Our safety procedures need improvement, but they aren’t as bad as they used to be.” I could rattle off hundreds of comments like this that slowly hold organizations back from taking their performance to the next level. It irks me to no end when “long timers” use this as a reason to not work towards continuous improvement. “But we’ve come so far, isn’t that far enough?” The answer is no.

Where do you start? I don’t know, but in my opinion-HR. Your HUMAN RESOURCES department should be able to help you maximize your HUMAN RESOURCES. Hello! There’s a concept. Really the answer is longer than I’m willing to give in this post (it’s getting long enough in my opinion), so let me challenge you to think of answers to this issue. Have you already dealt with this issue in your organization? Or a previous organization? Where would you start and what steps would you take to help change the mindset that is holding back your organization.

Now that I look successful, I don't have to do anything ever again.
Now that I look successful, I don’t have to do anything ever again.

This is the EEOC calling #truestorytuesday

“Kristina, you need to call Mark with the EEOC back” says trusty employee.

Hmmm… I sit back in my chair for the half of a second my day will allow to reflect on what I was just told. Really? I toss that statement around in my head a few times before I’m snapped back to the reality of my super busy day. I call the number back only to find its just the general 800 number for public use. Strange. Not ten minutes later I heard the page down the hall “Kristina, EEOC on line 1 for you…” I can’t lie, for what seemed like an hour I held my breath (pffft, like I had that much free time) before I picked up the phone and jumped right in. I remember looking at the caller id and the call was blocked…strange, but not unheard of.
“This is Kristina how can I help you”
“This is Mark representing the EEOC. Did you have an employee by the name of Max Martin (name changed to protect the guilty).
“We received a complaint in reference to how his termination was handled and I have a few questions.”
…. Something isn’t right, I’m super busy, I can’t handle this right now. Mind you I’m a young 20 something at this time and inexperienced in this area.
“Okay. It may be best to contact our corporate representative.”

I call corporate and give them the heads up about what is going on. I tell them this is strange and I don’t feel like this is legit, it doesn’t match up with the little bit I do know about the EEOC procedures. Corporate gets the call and talks with them for a little while. While corporate is on the phone with me telling me about the conversation they had I get a call back from Mark. I take it and tell him that further communications will need to go through our corporate office. He’s really pressing for information and trying to intimidate me; I now have a good idea of who this might be. I get off the phone with him and he calls corporate again then calls me again… Only this time he doesn’t block his number! Bingo! My assumption was correct so I wait for him to say he is Mark from EEOC again.
“This is Mark from the EEOC, I need to get your corporate fax number”
“Hey Max Martin, I’m sure you can find our fax number on the website, is there anything else I can do for you today, Max?”
It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop from miles away. “Oh hey Ms. Kristina… I uh I was just wondering what all jobs you had open for me.”

So what’s Max’s back story? He worked for us at a metals plant and had been there for almost the 90 day probationary period. He became angry during the last shift he worked and walked off the job. (After having an argument with a family member that worked at the same job site.) Less than 24 hours after he walked off the job he regretted it of course and came by the office begging us for his position back. We had a policy that if you walked off a job or quit without notice you would not be eligible for rehire. Period. We of course referenced this policy in an attempt to diffuse the situation. Somehow in his mind he thought if he impersonated an employee of the EEOC that he would be able to intimidate us to the point that we would hire him again. This tactic failed miserably for two reasons: 1) we were certain that we were within legal compliance in our actions 2) that time he called impersonating EEOC employee Mark and forgot to block his number.


Because I was an #intern … a guest post

There are two things that I stress to everyone wanting to get a job after graduation (especially in the HR field): Networking and Internships. These days “entry level” requires hands-on experience which you can only get by working in the office. Not only that, but internships provide you an opportunity to test the waters and see if you even want to work in that field!

In my case, I had the unfortunate happenstance to be going to school out of state and was unable to land an internship until the summer following my graduation. In all my time studying Human Resources I thought I wanted to specialize in Benefits and Compensation, so when I started my internship I requested projects relating to that area. It was not long before I realized that, while I was good at the analyzing it was NOT what I wanted to do 40hrs/wk until retirement! Luckily for me, the needs at the company changed and I was switched over to staffing: something I had never considered as an option for me.

All of my work experience prior to this internship involved working the phones, so it was no stretch for me to pick up the phone and start cold calling possible candidates to screen them for positions. To my surprise, I fell in love with staffing.  From writing job descriptions, to sourcing, to speaking with candidates I seemed to pick it up quite naturally. It was the fit that I was looking for in a job. I was able to see the textbook knowledge I had put into practice and I learned to use tools that the school did not teach me about (ATS and HRIS, anyone?). Don’t get me wrong, staffing can be quite stressful at times, but I work well under pressure and found it much more exciting than benefits.

The company I interned with must have been happy with my performance, because at the end of my internship I was hired on part-time and later promoted to full time. It was a wonderful experience because I was able to hire interns of my own to share my knowledge with them. While I have since changed companies, I owe a lot to the company who hired me as an intern. It offered me invaluable experience and provided a way to get my foot in the door. While the internship was unpaid, it more than paid for itself with experience that I would not have gotten otherwise.




Melanie has a Bachelor’s in Human Resources from the University of Alabama in Huntsville where she served as President and Treasurer for the student chapter of SHRM. She has been working in a staffing-related role since May 2012 and is active in the local SHRM community. She spends a lot of her time volunteering and has an HR blog ( written from the viewpoint of an entry level HR professional. She is passionate about mentoring HR students and continues to help with the UAH-SHRM chapter.

Spider Monkeys in Alabama #truestorytuesday

So this one time… and I’m kicking myself for not having the voicemail for this very blog post… I had an employee call in because her daughter was bit by an exotic monkey at a friends party. I must’ve played that voicemail a thousand times to make sure I heard what I was supposed to hear. Yep. Exotic. Monkey. Bite. I was intrigued, confused and slightly concerned. When the time was right a follow-up phone call to the employee went a little like this:

“Hey Suzy Q! How’s your daughter?”

“She’s doing a lot better. She had to get all kinds of shots and they had to make sure the monkey didn’t have rabies or anything like that. But I have to go to the police station today to follow-up on the report.”

“Okay. Is there anything we can do for you or her?”

“Not as of now. We are going to be back and forth between the doctor and the police station. Her friend that owns the Spider Monkey is mad at her. I didn’t even know you could own a Spider Monkey.”

“Suzy Q, we didn’t know you could own one either. We were slightly surprised.”

“Well I guess you can’t have one because the police took it from her and that’s why her friend is mad at her then they almost got into a fight. I’m just glad my daughter doesn’t have rabies. I probably won’t be able to come back to work.”

… and scene…

Spiteful Spider Monkey
Spiteful Spider Monkey

Let that one sink in for a minute.

Where I used to be…

Two things happened this week that reassured me I am on the right path. Over a year ago I welcomed an identity crisis that was a harder fight than I thought it would be. I had become so engrained in my job that innocent bystanders couldn’t tell where I ended and the job began and vice versa. I was oblivious to this for a long time, but all last year it became more and more apparent to me that it was, no matter how hard I denied it, my life. I wasn’t sure if it was a bad thing or not because I thought it meant I had a good work ethic and that as long as I was providing my family should just deal with it. So I had a long journey (maybe I’m still on it) to find myself again since I let my work become my identity. Anyway long story short I like my job now, I’m working on loving it, but let’s just say I’m dipping my toe in the water before I jump in.

So what are the two things that happened? Earlier this week my husband and I were spending time together and he made the unprompted comment to me that he could tell a difference in my patience from this time last year. I was so happy to hear someone say that, especially my husband, that I wasn’t really sure what to say. I’m pretty sure my eyes lit up and then I just made noises as I tried to form a sentence. I was seriously happy that someone noticed, because I was started to doubt that I had made any progress at all. The second thing happened tonight. Two different neighbors sought me out for conversation tonight. Let me just say-that never happens. I’ve always been the neighbor that glares at the kids leaving their bicycles in my driveway or the dogs getting off the leash. I do not make eye contact with neighbors when I pull up at my home from a long day of work. I do not want to be bothered with meaningless conversation, I just want to take my high heels off and go to bed. Not anymore! After the conversation with the first neighbor I thought to myself “Aw, what a sweet old man”. After the second neighbor came by I thought to myself “Am I dying? Does my husband know I’m dying and he’s told the neighborhood? What is going on here?”. I’m pretty sure I can chalk these chatty neighbors up to the fact that I am looking less and less stressed. I mean I look friendly again. Crazy right?

Don't confuse this place with your happy place!

This attitude adjustment cannot be 100% attributed to my job change, but it had a huge impact . I loved what I did so I couldn’t accept that it was making me miserable, but almost a year out I can see where I was wrong! It was making me miserable and that didn’t mean I should love what I did any less, it just meant I wasn’t supposed to keep doing what I loved where I was. I share this with you for the one struggling soul somewhere out there that is torn in a similar situation. There is light at the end of the tunnel. It’s okay to leave a company after 7 years. No job should affect you to the point that people think you’re a young Miranda Priestly. It is possible to do what you love in a peaceful workplace. I promise. You don’t have to have constant chaos to be successful.

I can totally pass a drug screen. #TrueStoryTuesday

The 5 lamest failed drug screen excuses… #truestorytuesday

Drug Test

Sir, you’re drug screen results are showing postive for cocaine.

I’ve never done cocaine. I must’ve got it on my hands somehow and transferred it into my urine when I was peeing in the cup.

<insert cricket chirp here>

Candidate studies drug screen form for seriously 12 minutes, reading the list of drugs we are testing for over and over and over and over again. Finally signs it and proceeds with the process.

Sir, you’re drug screen is showing positive for marijuana.

Dang-I didn’t see that on the list of drugs you were testing for.

It’s the first one on the list-THC.

Sir, you’re drug screen is showing positive for marijuana.


I can’t send you to a job site with a positive drug screen.

I didn’t know I couldn’t smoke it.

You do know smoking marijuana is illegal, right?

I didn’t realize I couldn’t do it because at my last job I would smoke with my supervisor.

<blank stare>

Sir, you’re drug screen is showing positive for marijuana.

I don’t smoke. My roomates smoke, but I don’t. They smoked in the car on the way up here.

This last one was a special situation where the employee was actually on workers comp.

Sir- you’re drug test today had no trace of the medication we prescribed you.

So now you mad because I can pass a drug screen?

Sir- you do realize it is illegal to falsely obtain a prescription and sell it to other people.