Virginia Detwiler

Recent Stories

Hard numbers and humility needed in minimum wage debate

Remove the hype, histrionics and hubris from the minimum wage debate, bring in some hard numbers and a touch of humility.

It takes a good staff to raise a new boss

Your new boss has no experience as a supervisor. She may not have any experience with the kind of work you do. She is friendly — but close to clueless. You are sure she is going to be a pain to work for.

Yes, Virginia, the holidays can be jolly

’Tis the month before Christmas, and all through the house the employees are scurrying — to please their new boss. Good results are achieved and reported with flair in hopes of big profits — and they’d each have a share. But instead, they each received tiny cheeseboards. And that’s just one of the many reasons I would like to untangle Christmas and the workplace.

When you work for a weasel ...

Given a choice, I would prefer to work for a moderately capable but honest, hard-working boss than a smart weasel of a boss. And I am not alone in my preference. The top reason people leave a job voluntarily isn’t for pay or a promotion; it’s because of a dishonest or incompetent boss. A few hundred years of literature followed by decades of employee attitude surveys provide the proof.

Yes, you have permission to be honest

May I speak honestly?” “To tell you the truth ...” “Well, to be honest ...” All of the above are phrases that make me wonder if the speaker’s preceding statements were nothing but lies. Based on one of those human interests surveys I read recently, probably about half of what we are told each day falls somewhere between misleading or just plain false. Performance evaluation workshop

We're all annoying — some more than others

Some people, probably most of us, are best enjoyed in small doses. And that’s what makes harmony in the workplace a real challenge. Forty hours a week working with a person who annoys you is a pain in the tuchas. About a year ago I began posting the Fair Exchange columns on my website. This past week I did a quick analysis of which columns get the most interest — and it isn’t the ones that I fuss over and rewrite several times. The winner (by a landslide) is “Obnoxious employee? — deal with it before his co-workers do.” I shouldn’t be surprised.

You like me! (But it shouldn’t matter)

How much does personality affect your chance for success? If the boss likes you, then your quirks are part of your charm and your mistakes are minor flaws. You get the benefit of the doubt. But if you and the boss don’t hit it off; well, then your mistakes are horrible and your personality quirks are annoying.

Hazardous duty demands equity in pay and benefits

In a recent New York Times article I learned that the men and women fighting the forest fires that plague us every summer receive varying levels of pay and benefits depending on their employment status. The teams of firefighters include full and part-time employees from the U.S. Forest Service as well as people employed seasonally or by private contractors.

It’s wise policy to track activities for private, public workers

When I read Thursday’s article in the U-B on the audit of exempt staff’s work hours in the Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office, one question came to mind: Why are nonprofit and public sector organizations so casual in managing their staffs?

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