Category Archives: General Chit Chat

How to Fire an Employee in 5 Easy Steps.

Firing someone isn’t as easy as some reality shows might depict. Sure, it’s fun to think about being a strong executive able to dismiss someone on a whim.

In reality? Your showing someone the door has real world consequences that those with empathy know all too well. I’m assuming your employee has a problem OTHER than a terminally ill relative, or they were the one with a terminal illness, a serious loss in the family be it a person, pet, or home, or a severe injury meeting all of the above criteria. I would add, as a former military spouse (he retired from the Army Reserves and is great, thanks!) that losing a loved one to deployment could affect your staff member’s work ethic as well.

All of the above may not be legally protected by Labor Laws, and that doesn’t really matter until step four. I’ll assume you don’t want to be a Worst Boss of the Year by firing your employee after their father dies of cancer on the same day as their dog was run over on their way back from saying goodbye to their deploying spouse.

How does someone let a problematic employee leave for “greener pastures?” Here you go.

  1. If empathy and caring about your employees are problems for you, don’t worry. There is a real and legal reason for NOT skipping step one’s empathy and emotional quagmire. Start a paper trail now, because if the person really is a liability to the company, a paper trail will keep you from being sued for unemployment. You’ll want to sit the problem person down and have a talk with them about what’s going right and what’s going wrong. Emphasis on the wrong. Have a checklist, a signable checklist, for how the awry behavior will change in the immediate future. They sign, you give them an atta girl or atta boy, and the behavior is corrected, profits rise, and we’re all happy.
  2. But, if nothing changes? You will yet again sit them down in a private area and ask what was unclear about the first meeting, in a kind and direct way. They explain or excuse, you listen and reintroduce the checklist as a reminder.
  3. And then that didn’t work. Fine. Bring them in again, again ask what was unclear and is it clear now that they’re on a probation of sorts? They’ll probably mumble yes, promise to change, you shake hands and voila! Problem solved.
  4. When nothing has worked so far? You gave the person three chances/warnings and documented what was said and promised. I would say you bring them in and give them two weeks. Except, I was in Information Technology for most of my cube farm life and forewarned gives an angry employee a chance to set up retaliation. Instead, follow your company’s procedures for termination. If you are your own CEO of a large enough company for Human Resources, why are you reading this? You’re too busy, and it’s why you have an HR. If you’re like me, the CEO of a tiny empire, the legality of terminating is a problem. Especially when it comes to being sued. Review the termination for cause for your state because no two states are the same. Set up your legal defense and reasons for showing your employee the door.
  5.  The firing itself. By this time, what kind of person your employee is won’t matter. They’re a detriment to the company and must go. Which is fine. Some people are round pegs trying to fit into a square hole and need to be pushed to find a new place. Others are problem children with no desire to grow as a person. Either way, you’ve tried to warn them in steps one through three, done the legal homework in step four, and now have to meet with them privately. If necessary, have your boss or HR rep sit in. Again, if you’re the head of your company, have a plan for your safety when terminating a hot headed employee.

I’ll admit, I’m a small business owner and firing someone would mean they all but begged to be fired. My empathy is off the charts. For this post, I’ve kept in mind that larger business owners might not know everyone and even if they do, they don’t care what happens when a person is pink slipped. Everyone is different, and that’s fine.

Even if you don’t care about your terminated people, you’ve spent time and money training them. There are anti-discrimination laws. Hiring new replacements hits you again in the time and money department. No one wants to waste their resources or be sued. Follow the first three steps, set up by following the fourth, and help your company’s growth and profits by following through on the fifth step.

#MondayBlogs and are you worth the effort?

Happy Monday!

I know. Two words that rarely go together. I think we can all agree on happy Saturday and certainly happy Friday. But Monday? Okay, maybe it’s happy because YOU are here.

Down to business and my personal opinions.

Are you worth the effort? Do you shower, shave and spit shine every day, or do you even bother? Every time I go to the grocery store or a big box store, I see them. Women and some men who are overweight and who have given up on themselves. For the gals, their hair has grown out to where a couple of inches of gray show, there’s not a speck of makeup, and those yoga pants were so last decade. In my case, some pants are last century. For the guys, their tshirts have food stains, those knee holes in the jeans aren’t intentional, and their fingernail dirt could grow fishing worms.

These are people who have given up on presenting their best face forward, and let’s be honest, everyone has been there at one time or another in their life. I’d let myself go when becoming an authorpreneur. Being at home all day, chained to a keyboard meant no one saw me shoveling handfuls of gummi bears into my mouth, OD’ing on diet soda, and skipping this year’s workouts.

What was my personal epiphany? Photographs, high blood pressure, and getting my nails done professionally by Glitter KC’s CEO, Kim Trentham. Photos told me my clothes weren’t shrinking as much as I was expanding. The high blood pressure after a lifetime of “Are you even alive??” low said the lifestyle needed a change. And finally? Getting my nails done reminded me of how good I’d felt with a fresh coat of polish applied by a professional. Like I was worth the time and cost it took.

Do you know what? Everyone is. Everyone is worth the time and cost to make themselves feel and look good. My grandma had a saying, if you look good, you feel good, and if you feel good, you do good. A lot of word echoes in this paragraph, but it’s true. Your thoughts affect your feelings, and both affect your actions.

Bottom line? Do something nice for yourself today. It doesn’t have to be a marathon in the time it takes or a fortune in expense. Something simple and self-improving just for you. And then? Do something nice for someone else. Anyone and anything as long as it’s helpful.

Tell me what you love improving your appearance, and how you give back to others and the world. I walk several miles a week, paint my nails, and skip dessert. I also give to various charities and volunteer at my American Legion unit. Comment below on what you did in the nice area today, or if you’ve already given back before hanging out with me here.

I took an Ancestry DNA test and the results changed my point of view. #Mondayblogs

Family legend has it that a great grandmother, Nancy, was Choctaw. I grew up knowing that for sure. I have strong cheekbones and a square face. A dentist said these small indentions in my teeth indicate a Native American Ancestry. So, for the past 52 years, I assumed I had at least 10% Native American, mostly Choctaw or Blackfoot. I reveled and claimed this part of my heritage with great pride. I admire the First Nations of America.

But nope.

I don’t even have a fraction of a percent. My sisters might. DNA from parent to child is odd that way. People get half of their DNA from a parent, and that half may not be what their siblings receive. Since I’m dark haired and eyed, olive complected, and rather short, I figure my tall, blonde, and fair complected sister is more Scandinavian than my own 20%.

And that was surprise number one. I’m Scandinavian AND 20%? Really? I honestly look the exact opposite of whatever you think of as a person in that group. So to be as much as that is a huge wow. Almost as much as the 0% Native American.

The 29% Irish and 25% English was not surprising. With a maiden name of Kelley and family names of Magee, Baker, Casey, Stewart, Monroe, Simms, to be 54% from the UK was a given. I’ve been to England, and the country does feel like home. Now I seriously want to visit the rest of the UK.

Fractional surprises? There are small fractions of various ethnicities. Genetics supported another family legend of a Jewish man marrying a Gentile and back then, they held a funeral for him because he was dead to the family. Turns out, it’s true. Something else fun and a wow moment is being 5% West Asian. Yep.I had no idea. Maybe the Scandinavian might have been a given when considering the Vikings and a number of red haired people in my family. Seeing that being reported was not too much of a surprise. But West Asian? Now I really MUST know more about that part of my ancestry.

A Facebook friend recommended I run the DNA data through a medical website and doing so was an oh my God! moment. It was there in the report and in my genetics. All the reasons for being told I need to pay attention, need to remember things better, need to stop being so obsessive were hardwired into my DNA. If I’d discovered this in my teens or twenties, I’d have known these were real aspects of me I could modify but were no more shameful than having brown instead of blue eyes. You can dye hair, wear colored contacts, and have cosmetic surgery for your nose. Knowing you have a bit of ADD? There are hints and helps I had to uncover the hard way by trial and error. If I’d had a “You have this, here’s what you do,” report back in my twenties, I think life would have been a lot easier. At least, there would have been a lot less of feeling defective in some way. Like the entire world could focus and I was the only one who couldn’t. Memory, too. Everyone could remember the shopping list, why couldn’t I?

So, my recommendation is for people to get their DNA checked. Not just for the where did I come from, which is cool, but for the medical. It’s scary, especially when you read about having a tendency toward various cancers and heart disease. I knew about those particular health risks for me, but to see them in print was daunting. Prometheus’s test also lists the medicines I’m either great or not so great with. Chemo meds are more effective for me than most, while blood thinners, ibuprofen (I took massive amounts for my migraines in the past! It’s a wonder my intestines are still intact, and I have a liver.), and transplant meds aren’t. Good to know now, right?

Something else that’s fun and I’ve learned the northern Europeans need to expect is the potential for Neanderthal DNA to be mixed in. I had no idea and think having Neanderthals as contributors to my genetics is a riot.

I will say that a lot of the potential medical bad stuff in my genes can be mitigated by lifestyle. Just because I’m able to tolerate cocaine without being addicted doesn’t mean I will ever try the drug just to make sure. I’m also 60% resistant to AIDS, something else I’m not going to test. Forewarned actually is forearmed.

So how about you? Leave a comment on if you had an ancestry test and it went haywire or not. Let us know what happened with you.

When is anything good enough? A #MondayBlogs conversation.

Let’s all take a step back from the news and world events debate and talk about a different kind of controversy.

Perfectionism. I has it. Do you? If so, you know that good enough is not an option. It kills me to have mistakes in my work, even when I’m told some are to be expected and are normal. Ug. No.

So right now, I’m wading through The Very Worst Man, living the perfectionist dream of giving the book a complete makeover. At the same time, I’m writing Surplus, book four in the Nova Scotia Murder Mystery series. Yes, it’s aggressive but necessary to meet deadlines.

I know this blog post is short and sweet but see above deadlines. In the meantime, tell me what in your life is something you pick to death to get just right. I can’t be the only one who wants to detail her truck with a Q-tip or thousand.

New and Improved Very Best Man

My entire Very Manly series has been undergoing a huge makeover in the past six months. The whole process turned out to be a lot more work than I’d planned but is also a lot more rewarding. There’s so much to write about the amazing editor who worked with me, my wonderful publicist, and my “Oh no, not again,” digital content manager/husband. Let’s just say I’ve learned setting deadlines for others can be a necessary thing.

How new and improved can this book be? So much so that I’ve added 10,000 words to the original story. Not by appending or inserting new chapters but by adding more drama and more importantly, more feeling. The love scenes are a lot spicier, too.

Now, on to the good stuff. The VERY Best Man releases tomorrow and is available for preorder now.

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Jane Lawson is getting married, so of course her sister Susan will be her maid-of-honor. But when sis skips out on planning the wedding, Jane finds a surprising stand-in… the best man!

Dr. David Wells is more than willing to taste wedding cakes, sample reception menus, and even help the bride in and out of wedding dresses, if it means spending time with her. Soon enough, she’ll be his best friend Alan’s wife… and thus off limits forever.

But when the groom says ‘I don’t’, and runs off with the maid-of-honor, his best man is left to pick up the pieces of the bride’s heart. David is more than willing, and as Jane turns to him for support, their friendship blossoms into something much more.

Until Jane’s old fears get in the way, and David realizes that to keep her, he must fight not only her hostile family, but ghosts from her past.

Field Trip!

I have big plans for this weekend. Not as big as the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, of course, but big on the research for a new series.

For the RT lowdown, head over to here to read and then come back.

Fun, right? But what’s this weekend? And that new series? Drumroll, please…

Introducing the American West series. Four stories set during the American expansion era. I have four books planned for sure about the Santa Fe Trail, the Orphan Train, the Pony Express, and a Northwest Shipping adventure. Characters from my Oregon Trail series will make guest appearances, too, and I’m so looking forward to seeing them again.

I’ll post on Monday what we did and saw on our intense research weekend.

#MondayBlogs and Spring Fever!

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Our weather in the Midwest US has been so lovely this week! I’ve struggled to stay inside and work but gave up on everything last Saturday. My husband and I spent the day running around town. I even took off a lot of Sunday. I’ve not taken off that much time in a row for weeks.

I needed the break. After going over The Very Best Man for its rerelease, Surplus, the fourth book in the Nova Scotia Murder Mysteries needed me. I’m almost done with chapter three and while that doesn’t sound like enough, there are only twelve chapters plotted. My only hang up is the murder is a stabbing, exactly what happened in Pleasures. Does it bother anyone else when a murder mystery series has too many of the same kind of deaths? Appearances is going to have a unique murder, Rage is a bit predictable but not a stabbing, and Honeymoon? I don’t know how I’m killing that random character.

Creepy, isn’t it? Such fun, though! Being a writer is the best job I’ve ever had. The boss, me, is a bit of a hard ass, however. Never letting me goof off outside or anywhere else, really.