October 2007

Career Troubles

by Evil HR Lady on October 31, 2007

Dear Evil HR Lady,
I need some impartial feedback on my current job situation that is causing me massive amounts of stress. I feel perplexed and overwhelmed and don’t know if this is something I can change or something that I need to accept or move on from. You do not need to publish my letter, but if you could provide me with any thoughts, I’d greatly appreciate them.

First, I’ll detail a bit of my work history for you so you can see where I’ve been.

Job #1
Length of employment: 4.5 years
Satisfaction Level: Moderate – a steady (but meager) paycheck, but minor perks (flexible work hours, 5 min. commute, etc.) that made it decent. The work itself was rather mindless.
Reason for leaving: A job that was initially described to me as “entry level with no room for advancement” that truly was just that. I stayed for quite a while and there was no room for me to gain responsibilities. It was great for right out of college…but I was hungry for more.

Job #2
Length of employment: 8 months
Satisfaction Level: HIGH! Worked for a company that I LOVED, doing something that was challenging and interesting, making significantly more money than previous job, working with a great group who I’m still friends with today.
Reason for leaving: A month after I was hired, it was announced that the company was acquired and that the aquiring company would be dominating. Anyone that wished to stay on would be required to move from the current location (PA) to the dominant company’s location (TX). I left at the first “decent” opportunity that was presented to me after this announcement (though I lingered on for a bit) as my severence would have been only 1 month’s worth.

Job #3
Length of employment: 3 months
Satisfaction Level: LOW. The three departments managed that were managed by a particular VP regularly experienced complete turnover in less than a year. Commute time was unbearable (during my interviews, traffic was not at it’s peak and I underestimated this. My fault entirely).
Reason for leaving: See above. Additionally, a manager of another department at Job 2 came here to be my manager. She immediately began job hunting and left shortly after I did.

Job #4
Length of employment: 1.3 years
Satisfaction Level: Varied. Perks: High (free benefits, decent salary for area, low commute time, good PTO plan, hands-off boss) Job Itself: High – when actually given work to do. Boss was fed up and looking for a new job during my entire tenure here. Her attitude prevented her from fighting for my ideas and did not provide me adequate support. Another issue is that my position was newly created and I floundered for at least 6 months b/c no one had a clear expectation of what I was to be doing.
Reason for leaving: Lack of boss support (from someone who i liked as a person), instability (CEO who restructured my entire department 2 times before I came, once while I was there and once again since I left. Eliminating 3 positions total w/in the department)

Job #5
Length of employment: June to present
Satisfaction Level: Low – due to commute time (changed once school was back in session), boss, one co-worker, duties at times. High – with some particular duties and the company itself.
Issues:
1. My boss “the VP” (whom I report to) is a difficult personality for me.
The good: She has the ear of our CEO. Since I have started here, compliments have been coming in from those I’ve worked with and the ‘complimenters’ have passed along the praise to my boss. She has passed along the praise to our CEO. She does compliment me from time to time.
The bad: She’s a snob and belittling. Very domineering in that she will literally talk over me and not give me an opportunity to explain my thinking. She has a tendency to micromanage.
2. The duties. I’m being paid significantly more than my last job, but given the duties of an admin. I definitely don’t mind pitching in to help with these…but this shouldn’t be my primary focus at this point in my career. Something I made clear to my boss during hte interview process.
3. The “manager” – I do not directly report to this person, yet she seems to have the authority to assign me tasks. She’s made it clear to me that she’s done a lot of things that are now my responsibility (I am again, in a newly created position) and has difficulty surrendering the things she considers “fun” to me. Therefore she passes along all the stuff she doesn’t enjoy to me.

I’ve tried talking to Manager, she’s seemed to understand/agree with my concerns, but then goes back to the way she has been doing things. Another co-worker is a friend from a previous job. I’ve discussed my issue with her and she understands but her duties don’t align with this manager, so it’s not an issue for her. I’ve contemplated discussing this with MY boss, but I fear 2 things.
1. She’s very reactionary. I don’t want to create a BIG issue…just have her understand my frustrations.
2. I fear her saying somethign to Manager and having her become even worse/snarky. She is a single working mom and seems to really value her career, which is understandable. But she also seems to feel that it defines her.

So…to make a long story short (too late, I know), I’m torn between looking for a new job or trying to make this one work. I just feel since I’ve left Job 2, which was PERFECT, I’ve become the square peg trying to fit into the round hole and nothing has been quite right. I also realize that I’m probably looking like a job hopper right now. I don’t want to be…but I want to be happy.

So, dear HR Lady, is it me? Am I a bad employee? Am I picking the wrong jobs? How do I know if it’s the “right” job? Or am I just destined to be unhappy?

Any advice you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!!

Since it is Halloween night (and I keep getting interrupted by strangely dressed young people asking for candy) I gazed into my crystal ball and discovered this: You ARE destined for unhappiness.

So sorry. I suggest you don’t purchase any lottery tickets either.

All right, all right, some of this is your own making. Some of this is bad luck. Here are the things that are of your own making:

1. Commute time. You really, really, really need to get a handle on that. Sure, major contstruction problems can cause unexpected delays, but other than that, you should be aware. Always do the expected commute during rush hour if commute time is important to you.

2. Picking bad bosses. What? Bosses don’t pick you? Well, they do, but you also pick them. It’s called recruiting because the company is trying to recruit you. You should be interviewing them as well as being interviewed. They don’t want to hire a bad fit, and you certainly don’t want to be hired into a bad fit. I’m betting you paid more attention to the title and salary than you did the actual boss. Company cultures are extremely important as well. Some people just “don’t fit.”

3. Expecting other people to explain things to you. That job with the unclear job resonsibilities? It should have been resolved within the first few weeks. You should have taken the lead. (Technically, it’s not your responsibility, it’s the manager’s–and they shouldn’t have been recruiting without at least a basic understanding of the responsibilities for the position–but they didn’t. So you have to.)

Now, other things are definitely beyond your control. A new boss transferred in, for instance, or the old boss quitting. (And FYI you bosses out there who are planning to quit. Knock off the new hires will you? It’s unfair to hire someone and then on their first day inform them that you’re leaving at the end of the week and you don’t know who their new supervisor will be.)

Research on the company is super important. You probably could have learned that they were a takeover target if you had done your research. Did you understand their current financial state before you interviewed? I actually think very few people do the research they really should do. Yes, they find out about the job and aspects of the company that pertain to that particular job, but forget to look at the overall health of the company.

So, what should you do? First, stop looking for bliss at work. Second, stop letting the bad portions overshadow the good. Third, stick out your current job for at least a year, preferrably two or three years. There are going to be people out there that vehemently disagree with me on this one, but you don’t haven’t had any long term jobs since your first one. This makes you less desireable on the hiring side. The potential manager is going to say, “what is wrong with this person?”

Yes, usually I advocate getting out when you realize you’ve made a mistake, but you’ve been doing that and it hasn’t gotten any better.

You’ve got a micro-managing boss and a non-boss who wants to be a boss. Fine. Figure out how to deal with them. What makes them tick? Why is your VP micromanaging you? Does she mico-manage everyone, or just you? If it’s just you, chances are you are doing something she perceives as wrong.

You loved Job Number 2. You know what? You probably would have had problems there had the job lasted a longer time. Since everyone was in the same desperate boat (find a new job or move to TX) you probably bonded where you wouldn’t have otherwise. I’m not saying it wasn’t a fabulous job, I’m just saying you are probably over-idealizing it. It’s like the old joke where the minister asks all the perfect people in the audience to stand. One older gentleman stands up. The minister, prepared to give a speech about how we are all imperfect doesn’t know quite what to say. As he begins to sputter the man says, “I’m not standing up for me. I’m just representing my wife’s first husband.” First husband wasn’t perfect, but the wife only remembers the good sides.

A job is a job. It’s why they call it work. Yes, some people are able to find bliss at work. Don’t expect it. (Someone else is going to disagree with me on this one, but what can I say? I’m a little negative.) Work on solving the problems you have now and those skills will help you in future jobs.

When you do start job hunting again, take your time and make sure you are interviewing companies and bosses as well. Do your research. Hopefully this will lessen the chances of unexpected uglines.

And for heaven’s sake, please test out the commute and look for school zones before you accept an offer.

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Carnival of HR #19

by Evil HR Lady on October 31, 2007

Is now up over at HRO Manager. Pop on over and get a Conan O’Brien quote for free!

The November 14th carnival will be hosted by Patrick Williams at Guerilla HR.

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My first love is training. So, last night I developed and conducted some Trick or Treating Training. (For those of you who are rolling their eyes right now, rest assured that my husband rolled his eyes as well.) But, the Offspring is 4, and quite frankly knowing how to trick or treat is not inborn. So, here is what we did.

1. Explain the base rules: No trick or treating by yourself. You must wait for Dad to come home from work.

2. Explain the steps: Knock or ring door bell, wait until door opens, say “Trick or Treat!”, take one piece of candy if offered, otherwise accept whatever is placed in your bag, say thank you, turn and leave.

3. Practice, practice, practice. You would think this would have been unnecessary, but there are many, many steps and different ones were forgotten.

4. Throw in some variation. “What a beautiful costume! Are you Cinderella?” This threw the offspring through a loop and we had to tell her it was okay to say “No, I’m Princess Presto.

Easy enough, right? I’m a crack pot for making my child practice trick-or-treating. After all, it’s a basic skill and she could have picked it up by watching other children. And she went trick or treating last year–so what if it’s been 364 days since her last trip around the neighborhood. Right? Right?

Why am I writing this? Replace trick-or-treating with “termination” training. It’s not done regularly but for some reason HR tends to assume that because you terminated someone a year ago, you can do it again today without any additional help.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Whenever you terminate someone from your company–whether it’s a layoff or a termination for cause–how the message is delivered can make a huge difference in how the employee responds and in the likelihood that a law suit will follow.

Here are some basic steps for training managers to conduct terminations. Surprisingly enough, the steps are similar to Trick or Treating.

1. Explain the base rules. Always have your i’s dotted and t’s crossed before you sit down. Have approval to the highest level necessary. Never do it by yourself. Always have a witness in the room. (Preferably HR, but another manager will do.) Understand your clear message. (This is a termination for cause, or this is a layoff–you’d be surprised how managers don’t realize there is as huge difference between these two.)

2. Explain the steps. Clear your calendar, have your witness in the office, invite the employee into your office, (If you don’t have an office, reserve a conference room where you can close the door. NO TERMINATIONS IN CUBES.) explain briefly and directly that the employee is being terminated. Do not hem and haw and do not leave any room for doubt. If appropriate, thank him for his service. Give any necessary paperwork to the employee. Tell employee he can go home for the rest of the day and can come back tomorrow for his things. Briefly answer questions, but keep meeting to 15 minutes or less.

3. Practice, practice, practice. Again, you would think this would be unnecessary–managers are smart and they can read a script. You’ve explained, let them go at it. But, this is wrong. Have you ever sat in a termination where your manager has stumbled so badly on the message that the poor employee thought he was being transferred to a new job? I have. It makes the termination even more painful.

4. Throw in some variation. How do you respond if the employee starts to cry? What if they start to scream? What if they run out of the office, hysterical? What if they threaten to sue? What if the employee argues that the company won’t be able to survive without him and that you’re a fool and furthermore, he’ll go to Sr. VP and get his job reinstated?

Conducting terminations is scary. Don’t make it worse by throwing the manager out there to “pick it up” by doing it a few times. Offer training and support.

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Last Minute Carnival Submissions

by Evil HR Lady on October 29, 2007

Please get your Carnival of HR Submissions into info [AT] hromanager .com by October 30th. (That’s tomorrow!)

The carnival will be posted Wednesday at HRO Manager.

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Please Stop Annoying Me

by Evil HR Lady on October 26, 2007

Like most of your legions of fans, I was hoping for some advice. Review season is upon us at my anonymous law firm. I work for a section head and an associate. I have been with them for over a year and have implemented the following systems for them: customized daily news reports, notes from hearings they cannot cover, briefing memos on hot topics. I’ve learned the regulatory systems that apply to our area of practice, even though I am not directly responsible for the processes they involve for our office. No other assistant in my section is taking on these kinds of responsibilities for their people. Of course there is also the traditional assistant jazz- calendars, maintaining contact lists, expense reports, copies, saving them from their blackberries, etc. I love my job, the 2 attorneys I work with, and life is generally awesome, with my section head telling the higher ups in the firm that it is important I get a significant increase in pay.

Enter the new hr manager for our office. Apparently she has identified me as a “problem” employee because I’ve billed a significant amount of overtime to hone these skills over the past year (at the direction of the section head and previous hr manager). she’s only been present for the last 3 months or so, but she and her deputy have essentially intimated that I need to stop billing overtime. When I came to the firm, I was told that there were serious penalties for failing to do so as a non-exempt employee. I absolutely do not abuse this system. I document everything I do and have no problem standing behind my overtime. I think she may be trying to avoid talking to the section head because she’s heard he will tell her to go fly a kite. Now she’s coming by my desk at random times to check up on me, looking at my computer screen and noting the time if I am in the office late. It’s creating a pretty hostile environment and it’s causing me to be distracted from what’s important- aka my job and our clients. If I didn’t know better, I’d think that’s exactly what she is trying to do. Help! How do I build a bridge here? And do I have cause for complaint?

I’d really appreciate any consideration you can give on this one. It’s making me miserable.

Thank you, evil HR lady. You rule.
Faithful Worker Bee

Ahh, an annoying HR manager. Who knew they even existed? First of all, here is what she should have done.

HR Manager (to your boss): We’ve noticed that Faithful Worker Bee (Were your parents hippies? Just asking.)has been billing a lot of overtime. Is this authorized by you?
Your boss: Yes
HR Manager: Okay. Just keep in mind that you need to keep to your budget.

The end.

But, that’s not what has happened. First of all, you make sure you bill for every second you work. It is ILLEGAL to work off the clock if you are non-exempt, which you are. Do you understand that? Illegal. Your HR manager knows this.

She’s convinced you’re not working all the hours you’re billing. You know you are. Your boss knows you are. The HR manager isn’t in a position of authority over your boss or she would be taking this up with him, instead of annoying you.

The next time the HR Manager or her deputy peers over your shoulder. Stop what you are doing, turn around and ask brightly, “Can I help you?” She will sputter, “uh, no. Just wanted to see how you are doing.”

Then you can say, “I’ve noticed that you are concerned about the number of hours I put in. As you know, my boss, the section head, approves all my time cards. He and the associate I work for, set my responsibilities. If you are concerned about my work life balance, please know that I’m very happy with how things are right now. Otherwise, could you take this up with my boss? I’m afraid I don’t have the authority to change my workload. So, you’re taking your overtime concerns up with the wrong person.” Then turn around and go back to work.

Now, by making her very aware that you know what is going on, and making her aware that your boss is behind you, she can’t pretend she’s just casually checking up on all the employees.

When she appears again, turn around and say, “Can I help you?” Whatever her response is, just say, “If you are still concerned about my work-life balance, please talk to my supervisor. I am very happy with how things are.”

Please let your supervisor know that she is hovering and it’s affecting your effectiveness. She has some sort of agenda–not sure what it is–but she has one. It’s not your job to deal with her agenda. You just need to move her annoying behavior from you to your boss.

A couple things could happen. One, your boss could decide that her hassle is not worth it and you could get your overtime taken away. (That is, you wouldn’t be authorized to work any overtime. You MUST BILL FOR ALL TIME WORKED.) Or, he could make it quite clear that he will manage his own employees and his own budget, thank you very much, and she will slink away.

Just remain pleasant and cheerful with her. You could even throw in a few, “I appreciate you are concerned about mes” because if you keep it as a “work-life balance” thing, that’s good HR speak and HR people like good work-life balances. (OR we say we do. Boy, do I have some stories!) If you start getting into the cost of overtime that becomes a different discussion and much harder to win.

Good luck.

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Heh

by Evil HR Lady on October 26, 2007

[dilbert2007183331025.gif]
(hat tip Highly Trained Monkey)

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Degree Required

by Evil HR Lady on October 25, 2007

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I love your blog.

I work for a small entertainment company (25 people). I was hired as a production manager, and was expecting to be mentored by the producer who hired me. Unfortunately, the company lost a bid and the expensive producer was the first to go. I was suddenly thrust into a role far above my qualifications. I’ve managed to get the knowledge I need (your blog has helped immensely for HR matters), and the company gave me a 31% raise a few months ago after winning a different bid. Here’s my situation:

Due to the circumstances of my childhood, I left home early and didn’t know how to get into, nor could I afford, a regular college education. I went to art school until it became too expensive, dropped out, and took job as a letter carrier. Eleven years later, after buying and selling a few houses and getting myself together, I quit work and went back to vocational art school. I only hold an associate degree from a small, regionally accredited private school. I moved to the big city and have managed to climb the ladder in production management very fast. I’ve held jobs in a few major studios and have some nice volunteer work on my resume. I also have a pilot’s license. Now I’m 42. I’m worried about retirement and am wondering how long I can run the rat race in a youth filled industry. This job will probably end when the movie contract ends, and there are no retirement benefits here. I want to transfer my PM skills over to a stable industry, perhaps in internal publications or training videos at a finance corp. However, with just an AA degree, how am I going to get past the first glance? Is there a way to skirt the issue? Does self-education and experience count for anything? I admit that even I give preference to employees with college degrees when I’m recruiting…If the answer is “go get a degree”, well, I’m struggling with the idea of having enough energy to start from scratch while working 12 hour days, plus it will take years and years going part time. Any other suggestions for older people like me?

I’m going to be brutally honest with you. Does it matter that you don’t have your degree? Yes. It does. There are some companies that will not so much as read the rest of your resume if you do not have a 4 year degree. Do I think those companies are wise? Well, no…and yes.

The HR department I work in will not consider you for a professional job unless you have a degree. Just flat out will not. Doesn’t matter how many years of experience you have or what your knowledge base is. No degree, no dice. Now, your degree can be in vocal performance or underwater basket weaving (both only incidentally related to Human Resources as a whole) and we’ll look at you, if you have the requisite experience.

There are some good reasons for this. A degree is a “proxy” for patience, endurance, knowing how to follow stupid policies and procedures that have no functional purpose. (Hey, it’s all becoming clear now! This is why HR requires a degree.) It also says, “This person has accomplished something.” And what that is is very defined.

Now, on the average resume it will say, “5 years project management experience.” I don’t know what that really means. But Bachelor of Science, Mathematics. I know what that means.

Now, does this mean we miss out on some quality people? You bet. Would I change the policy if I were Queen of HR? You bet. 20 years of experience in the working world does not equal 4 years at a University, that mom and dad funded where you spent most of your time doing things your mom and dad still don’t know about.

So, you have experience and no degree. Are you sunk? No. You have one big advantage–you have experience on the creative side. Creative work is generally recognized as not requiring the strict structures that, say, accounting does. People tend to be a bit more lenient on the degree requirement on that side.

You are either creative, or you are not, and no number of “How to write a screen play” classes is going to change that. (Not that such a class isn’t valuable. It is. It will teach you how to write a screenplay. Really. I, myself, took playwrighting (and yes, that is correct, you “forge” a play, you don’t “write” one, although both spellings are correct) and learned how to write a play. Which I did. Would you like to read it?) There are tricks and requirements that you need to know.

However, you can learn that sort of thing on the job as well, which you have done.

My advice for the resume. Experience, first, education last. (Actually that’s my advice for everyone not straight out of school.) Don’t bring it up randomly in conversation, (“oh, I hope you’ll consider me, since I don’t have a degree…) and don’t worry about it.

You will probably be automatically disqualified from some jobs, but not for all. Not everyone has the strict requirements that my department has. Don’t be ashamed of what you’ve accomplished (I’ve produced a movie, managed a production team, written winning proposals but it’s all worthless because I never took Biology 100). Be confident, be honest and if asked, say, “I have an associates degree and a pilot’s license.” And then talk about your pilot’s license. My husband has one and boy, do people think that is cool.

Good luck with the job search. Nothing more fun than a good job hunt!

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Family Friendly

by Evil HR Lady on October 24, 2007

Deb at 8 Hours & a Lunch and Kris, the HR Capitalist have been discussing Family Friendly workplaces. They both bring up great points about being employee friendly, rather than just “employee-with-small-children” friendly. I find myself agreeing with them. But, then I read Confessions of a Community College Dean:

My college is losing yet another wonderful woman employee this week. After trying valiantly to do the two-job-family thing for a while after her son was born, she finally threw in the towel and will stay home. It’s a real loss for us. She’s very good at what she does, and we’ll have to bring in someone new who – even if good – brings a learning curve. In the meantime, her position will remain open a few months to save money. Some will do unpaid overwork to compensate, and some work will just slip through the cracks. This is how decisions get made.

The Wife and I did the two-job-family thing for several years, as my regular readers know. Even when she went to reduced hours, the day-to-day stress level was beyond belief. Life become little more than time management. And in some ways, we had it as good as it got: we could just afford a pretty good daycare center (with webcams), we worked (mostly) regular hours, and her parents were close by enough that they could be our emergency backup system when The Boy got sick and couldn’t go in. Even with all that, it was just too hard.

Now, regular readers know, I’m a big believer that choices have consequences. They do. And no one else should be responsible for my choices.

But, what if you’re Dean Dad and your desperately trying to hang on to a woman (or man, but in my experience it’s always almost the woman) who is trying to balance work and family. He notes that in his own family the “stress level was beyond belief.” Kids, daycare, two full time jobs.

I couldn’t do it. Well, re-wind. I wouldn’t choose to do it.

My company wanted to keep me. So, I was able to negotiate a part time position for two years and now I’m in a job share. (Job shares and part time are very different. Someday I’ll write about that.) My husband’s company offers on site daycare, which means that the Offspring goes to work with him on the days I’m in the office. She’s across the parking lot, not across town.

Family friendly? You bet. Benefits that childless workers wouldn’t need or want? You bet. (Although many childless friends have said, “I want to work part time” but when push comes to shove, they don’t want the substantial drop in pay, prestige and promotional opportunity. And don’t lie to yourself, the promotional opportunities rightly go away when you aren’t devoting your entire life to the company.)

75 out of the 100 top companies for Working Mothers (as determined by Working Mother Magazine have a Bright Horizons day care center associated with the company.

I’m not advocating this, by the way. I’m just pointing out that choices have consequences. People make choices. Businesses make choices. What set of choices do you want to make?

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Forced Labor

by Evil HR Lady on October 20, 2007

This has nothing to do with HR (well, maybe the aspect of getting some lazy jerk to actually do work), but it amused me, so I’m sharing.

The couple was stunned when they walked in the door to find the place ransacked, with many of their possessions scattered all over the place. And as Adrian went through the residence examining the damage in each room he was even more surprised to see the intruder brazenly stroll through the back door and run straight into him – wearing one of his own hats.

The startled burglar tried to run, but McKinnon pulled out a gun and aimed it at him. But he didn’t call the police right away. Instead, this victim was devising a plan to make the robber pay for his crime on the spot. So he ordered the stranger to clean up the house. “We made this man clean up all the mess he made, piles of stuff, he had thrown out of my drawers and cabinets onto the floor,” Tiffany recalls.

When cops were finally summoned, the suspect complained bitterly about the work he’d had to do, but they were less than impressed with his gripes. Neither were the McKinnons. “This man had the nerve to raise sand about us making him clean up the mess he made in my house,” Tiffany emotes. “The police officer laughed at him when he complained and said anybody else would have shot him dead.”

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An Admirable Goal: The Wrong Method

by Evil HR Lady on October 19, 2007

Consider this: In the San Francisco area, a nurse with a bachelor’s degree can hope to start out with a salary of $104,000. The salary for a nursing professor with a Ph.D. at University of California San Francisco starts at about $60,000.

This goes a long way toward explaining why nursing schools turned away 42,000 qualified applications in 2006-2007—even as U.S. hospitals scramble to find nurses.

We need more nurses. Let’s raise the salary. Hey, we still don’t have enough nurses! We’re paying a great salary, why don’t we have enough nurses?

This is the discussion going on in recruiting meetings at hospitals in San Francisco. (I have no knowledge of salaries in other places, as I am not a nurse and I do not work in this particular field.)

The solution, it appears, is to raise, not the salaries of the nurses, but the salaries of the instructors. And hire more of them. And train more nurses–42,000 people wanted to be nurses and were turned away. And we still don’t have enough nurses.

This is a problem that faces many areas. We need more people to do X, but there is a limited supply of people available to do X. So, we pay more money, but without people to teach others, there is still a limited supply. Business’s (or hospital’s) hands are tied. Right?

I’m not quite sure how this can apply to nurses–haven’t thought it completely through–but here’s an interesting solution: The Saint John Fisher Wegmans School of Pharmacy

In January 2005, the College announced that Robert B. Wegman, Chairman of Wegmans Food Markets, Inc., donated $5 million to be used for the creation of the Wegmans School of Pharmacy. The School, which opened in the Fall of 2006 with an inaugural class of 55 students, is the first of its kind in Monroe County and the fifth in the State of New York.

For two years, Fisher explored the viability of establishing a School of Pharmacy to help alleviate the projected shortfall of qualified pharmacists for the communities and hospitals in Central and Western New York.

Oh, how nice, you say. Mr. Wegman was being noble and good in getting more pharmacists into the community. Right? Noble. Good. Not at all self interested. Right? Well, wrong.

Note he is chairman of Wegmans Food Markets, inc. (Or rather, he was. He died a while ago. His son, Danny, is now the head of the business.) What does this grocery store chain happen to have inside it? Drum roll please…Pharmacies! And where are the bulk of it’s stores located? Central and Western New York!

Rather than fret about the lack of pharmacists, this company did something about it. Now, granted, it would have been cheaper to just continue to pay pharmacists more and more money and try to steal them from competitors. But, companies like to do charitable things, so Mr. Wegman directed his money in a way that helped the community and his business.

Talk about thinking outside of the box.

Plus, I’m sure he got a nice tax deduction.

(hat tip: Kevin, MD)

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