CareerBuilder.com comes out with an annual list of Most Unusual Excuses and this year’s list does not disappoint. Here it is from a press release (my personal favorites in bold):
1) Employee’s 12-year-old daughter stole his car and he had no other way to work. Employee didn’t want to report it to the police.
2) Employee said bats got in her hair.
3) Employee said a refrigerator fell on him.
4) Employee was in line at a coffee shop when a truck carrying flour backed up and dumped the flour into her convertible.
5) Employee said a deer bit him during hunting season.
6) Employee ate too much at a party.
7) Employee fell out of bed and broke his nose.
8 Employee got a cold from a puppy.
9) Employee’s child stuck a mint up his nose and had to go to the ER to remove it.
10) Employee hurt his back chasing a beaver.
11) Employee got his toe caught in a vent cover.
12) Employee had a headache after going to too many garage sales.
13) Employee’s brother-in-law was kidnapped by a drug cartel while in Mexico.
14) Employee drank anti-freeze by mistake and had to go to the hospital.
15) Employee was at a bowling alley and a bucket filled with water crashed through the ceiling and hit her on the head.
True confession here: I get up and walk in the early morning long before sunrise and am familiar with bats at that hour. They do buzz your head looking for insects (I think that is why). Anyway, I ALWAYS wear a baseball hat in the summer to prevent any bats for “getting in my hair.” The fact that the employee used the plural “bats” is…questionable.
I am stuck in an ongoing cycle of sourcing. Just when I am about to be worn down, I come across a resume that lists the candidate’s technical skills. The first thing listed:
-MS Windows 98
Seriously…Win98? My guess (hope) is that the candidate simply has overlooked that part of his resume for years. That is about the only explanation because I certainly hope he isn’t touting his technical proficiency with an operating system from 13-14 years ago.
Just reviewed a resume written entirely in Comic Sans font. Scary.
Honestly read this under the "Education” section of a resume:
Completed Kindergarten on through 12th grade
I think that is rather funny. I guess the old axiom that the longest journey starts with the first step is true. Education starts with successfully completing kindergarten.
Thanks to Sierra Miller for sharing some funny passive-aggressive office notes. Check out the photos here.
It reminds me of a previous position I had in a technology company. One of the IT guys kept having a similar problem – someone would peruse his lunch in the refrigerator and help themselves to some of the food. The IT guy was a bit high-strung which probably made him a more appealing target for these hijinks.
Anyway, one day he does a page all over the entire building and goes off about someone eating his lunch. This was a company with 175 employees – it wasn’t small. He ranted to the entire company (and present visitors) about his lunch being taken again.
I believe he was summoned to the HR department’s area shortly thereafter. He wasn’t fired, but was asked to refrain from any further “page all rants.”
I have been swamped with sourcing activities over the past couple weeks as we work on multiple projects. I am definitely seeing an upclick in hiring activities which is normally preceded by increases in our assessment work. We have seen a tremendous increase in assessments so I take that as a good sign.
So a quick sourcing story for you – I’m on the phone with a gentleman and we are deep into the phone interview. He interrupts me to say he needs to step away as his 5 year-old son has gone to the bathroom and the candidate needs to go “wipe his butt.” He proceeds to set the phone on the counter and I hear the entire conversation regarding the success of the young boy’s bowel movement.
The candidate returns to the phone and proceeds to describe to me the enormity of his son’s…bowel movement. Unbelievable. It was all I had not to laugh on the phone.
Business has its own pet language, doesn’t it? Much like sports, there are some favorite clichés that are common speak in most office buildings. Yahoo does a good job of chronicling some of the worst. A couple examples:
Say what? This word has infiltrated nearly every cube and conference room in the country. The fault here can largely be placed on one seminal advice author. In Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, the No. 6 habit is Synergize. Of the habit, Covey writes, "To put it simply, synergy means two heads are better than one." Covey readers might recall getting the same advice in simpler terms several decades earlier from Sesame Street. Big Bird called it "cooperation."
I despise the word synergy. It is an all-encompassing word for covering a lack of synthesis, in my opinion. What I mean is that instead of sorting out the difficult aspect of synthesizing disparate concepts (a favorite move of managers), many managers simply cover the problem with some reference to synergy.
And here is one for which I am offended:
A phrase often wielded by superiors wanting a subject examined more closely. "Drill down to what?" asks Shut Up and Say Something author Karen Friedman. "The oil?"
Come on, that is a perfect business phrase. We use it frequently in reference to interviewing, especially questioning. Too often hiring managers ask an expected question, receive a pre-canned answer and then move on. Ignoring the expected question piece, we always coach managers to drill down on the answer – go for specifics, follow up on their answer.
I’ll leave the rest o f the list for your enjoyment.
Let me be honest, I have sat in on some interviews that were borderline psychotic. Questions from left field, overt anger and emotions, lying responses that were easily observed…and those were the good ones. In all seriousness, interviewing is difficult and being a good interviewer is even more challenging. Most managers do not spend their time honing their interview skills. This fact often leads to bizarre questions. It also leads to bizarre question patterns.
Every year there seems to be a list of the oddest interview questions from the year – it is a guilty pleasure of mine to read them. Perhaps you would enjoy the list also? To whet your appetite for frivolity:
1. If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?
As a mathematically-challenged person, I find this question downright perverse and evil:
7. Out of 25 horses, pick the fastest 3 horses. In each race, only 5 horses can run at the same time. What is the minimum number of races required?
Same goes for this one:
15. You are in a dark room with no light. You have 19 grey socks and 25 black socks. What are the chances you will get a matching pair?
You get the idea. There are strange ones in the list is you read the article. My point in bringing this up is that many sales managers would scream if their salespeople went into a sales call without a plan, a strategy. Yet many sales managers that I see go into an interview with the intent of simply rehashing a candidate’s work history and then deciding if they like him or her. This is not a strategy. And asking math word problems should not be a part of your interview process.
How To Handle Post-Recession Job Stress
Post-Recession? I think most people are still dealing with Recession Job Stress. It gets worse:
The worst of the waves of layoffs may be over, but countless American workers who still have their jobs are unhappy at them, overloaded with increased responsibilities, short of colleagues to share the burden, and unsure where they can turn to look for something better. Few people got raises last year–many took pay cuts–and it’s not looking like pay hikes will come anytime soon.
Again, this viewpoint strikes me as seriously off target. I equate this type of unhappiness to people who complain that their ice cream is too cold. There are countless people attempting to find employment so stories involving the stress of not receiving a raise seems out of touch.
No, not a Wisconsin graduate, an actual badger. JustSell.com has the video on their site. The setup is this – the badger is an “old-school” car salesman who badgers his prospects. The 30 second ads are for a car dealership. It is quirky, but I love quirky and got a real kick out of them.
Here is a taste: