Finding the Balance in Mandatory Overtime

If you are a non-exempt employee who has worked beyond your decided weekly hours, those added hours are considered overtime; and are to be compensated at a higher rate than your regular hours.

At some point in your career, you will likely find yourself working overtime for one reason or another. Some companies offer more overtime than do others, whether on a consistent or variable basis.  Yet, other companies prefer to include overtime in the hiring agreement, informing employees that mandatory overtime hours are part of the job description. Still, there are certain companies that frown upon overtime, and only offer it in extreme cases.

Weekly time sheet

Reasons for Overtime

Depending upon the type of organization, industry, and its individual business practices, the reasons for overtime can greatly vary.

The most common reason for working past sign-out time is to increase production. Perhaps, there is an unusually large order that must be shipped to an important customer within a short period of time, but production and processing has not yet been completed. In order to meet important deadlines, companies will require that employees put in extra time with an incentive of increased pay until the project is completed when original schedule hours can resume.

According to the FSLA (Fair Labor Standards Act), all U.S. employers are generally required to pay their waged non-exempt employees one and a half or two times their base salary for any hours exceeding a 40 hour work week.

The Federal government does not recognize overtime on weekends or holidays unless the employee has worked more than 40 hours within that week. Certain overtime specifics may vary slightly based upon the labor regulations of the state in which you work.

Employer’s Perspective: Pros and Cons

One obvious business advantage is an increased level of production. Overtime assists in bridging work gaps due to absences or leaves, helping companies avoid hiring temporary staff. Overtime hours can also be utilized to conduct routine maintenance and repairs to avoid inconvenient delays during regular work hours or peak production times. Another benefit is that employees can complete their regular responsibilities during business hours, while using overtime hours for special projects and assignments that don’t necessarily need to be completed during the 9 to 5.

However, extended or long-term overtime can also sometimes create a significant dent in a company’s budget, especially when an already amply compensated employee accumulates numerous overtime hours. When monetary issues arise in general, organizations often find themselves tightening the overtime reigns or even discontinuing it altogether.

In addition to financial issues, another concern to organizations is that too much overtime can cause employees to become overworked and depleted, possibly resulting in extra sick days or unsafe work practices.

Employee’s Perspective: Pros and Cons

While some may express dismay at the thought of working longer hours, many employees look forward to overtime for two very distinct reasons: Increased pay and the opportunity for company advancement. Agreeing to work overtime hours is one way for employees to showcase their abilities and willingness to contribute to the overall success of the organization. However, employees do need to use caution by retaining permission, making sure that their particular overtime is accepted by management.

While the extra income earned through overtime is certainly a positive aspect, employees must be sure not to burn the candle at both ends. Even with the best of intentions, there is always the risk of exhaustion from working too many consecutive hours, not to mention that more time at the office means less time at home with family and loved ones. Health and overall quality of life are two important considerations when contemplating taking on large quantities of overtime.

Time Money Signpost Shows Hours Are More Important Than Wealth


Mandatory overtime hours are a blessing and a curse to both companies and employees. In a fast-paced workforce like today, companies struggle to keep up with their competitors, and employees struggle to find time to spend with their families. Balancing the amount of overtime worked with production overload would be beneficial to all. Nevertheless, employees should always refer to their own state regulations to confirm which overtime laws apply to them.


Fred Coon, CEO


Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.

How to Perform Your Own Skills Assessment

If you have been recently laid off from your job or are simply considering a new career, now is the best time to assess your skill set.  We often underestimate or misjudge our value as a contributing team member or leader in the workplace; yet, by carefully and thoroughly evaluating our job skills, we gain a clearer understanding of our place in the job market as well as with potential employers.

Job skills target concept

While your own personal skills assessment may vary depending upon your particular position or industry, there are certain factors that remain consistent. recommends splitting your competencies into three main categories, as follows:

1. Experience/Knowledge-Based Skills:  These are the skills you have acquired directly through education and job experience.  Computer, marketing, accounting, and customer service skills are examples of experience and knowledge-based proficiencies.

2. Transferable Skills: Skills under this heading are not specific to one work environment and can be incorporated in a variety of professional roles.  Examples of transferrable skills include competencies in communication, leadership, delegation, analytics, and problem-solving.

3. Soft Skills:  These skills fall into the category of personality traits, and are also sometimes referred to as emotional intelligence.  Traits that fall under this heading may include positive work ethic, team player, adaptable, and able to work under pressure.

Evaluation list

Related:  Integrating Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Once you have taken the time to break down your skills into these three basic groups, you will have the ability to accurately view your strengths along with any areas in need of improvement.  Take this opportunity to develop and build upon areas with noticeable gaps or deficiencies; and conversely, be sure to highlight your strong points on both your résumé and during job interviews.

Happy businesswoman working on the laptop at office

Additionally, you may want to expand your analysis even further by utilizing some available online resources, such as this particular skills assessment at  Now that you have ascertained your value-add to potential employers, you are now a step closer to becoming a successful contender in the job market.


Fred Coon, CEO

At SC&C we offer Career Analysis to help senior decision-makers from all walks of life identify strategies and tactics to increase their value-add employment potential.

Proactive Ways to Deal With Challenging Colleagues

An important part of life is learning to adapt to some of the more difficult tendencies and idiosyncrasies of others. While in our personal life, we have the freedom to surround ourselves with individuals with whom we find ourselves most compatible; it is the workplace where we find we must continuously exercise our skill to adjust and accommodate.

Businessman listening to a colleague

Sometimes the challenge may be an opposing work-style or simply a communication problem.  Luckily, most of these situations can be rectified, if you learn to recognize it early enough.  It’s also crucial that we remain aware of our own quirks and foibles as well, without automatically assuming the fault lies only with others.

Related:  Tips for Being a Great Coworker

However, there are times where an issue involving a coworker grows troubling and persistent enough that it deserves active attention.  Here, we will explore some of the obstacles that team members may encounter among one other, as well as the most practical ways of handling the resulting circumstances.

Demanding Colleagues – If you are a conscientious employee, you are certainly willing to lend a hand to a colleague in need from time to time.  Yet, if you find yourself assisting this same colleague to the point where you are running short on time for your own projects – or if your coworker is consequently receiving kudos for assignments that you essentially completed for them – this is the time to set clear limits.  The simple resolution is to explain that you are behind in your own responsibilities the next time this coworker requests your assistance, and nicely propose that they touch base with another team member for help. By employing this approach, you are not only reminding your coworker of the importance of your own job (of which they likely lost sight), but also offering them a broad, yet viable alternative.

Confrontational Colleagues – If responsible debates continually escalate to personal attacks, you may be dealing with a confrontational coworker.  Rather than aiming to solve the issue at hand, these employees are more focused on proving you wrong.  Deliberations that turn personal are simply not tolerated in the workplace.  Rather than altogether ceasing from sharing your ideas, attempt to redirect the discussion solely to the topic at hand, and away from the ego.  This can be achieved by avoiding phrases such as “You are wrong,” or “You are misinformed on this topic”.  If this approach is unsuccessful, trying speaking in private with the coworker to evaluate how you may resolve your differences going forward.  However, if this coworker has upper management connections, it may be best to keep your distance, rather than risk a dispute that may affect opportunities for advancement down the road.  In instances where all tactics have failed, incorporate HR or a direct supervisor to help you handle the situation.

Competitive Colleagues – While the majority of our work associates may be supportive of our achievements, we sometimes encounter a coworker whose sense of competition and drive for success overshadows all else.  While a healthy sense of ambition is laudable, competitive colleagues can sometimes border on hostile toward other successful coworkers.  It’s best to reduce your number of interactions with these types of colleagues, if at all possible.  If you must work closely with a competitive coworker, keep conversations light, maintaining focus on the task at hand, rather than issues that may trigger negative emotions.  Also, portraying your own encouragement of your coworker’s achievements may prompt a more amiable response.  If no other methods succeed, and you feel your productivity is being hindered, speak to HR or your direct supervisor.

Dominating Colleagues — Although a company leader or superior does have influence over your job, a dominating colleague or coworker only perceives to have this influence.  Workers who aim to dominate or oppress their coworkers must be dealt with from the beginning.  The key is to remind this type colleague that you are both within the same professional ranking, and deserving of the same level of respect.  If a dominating colleague attempts to use intimidation tactics, don’t lose your cool, but instead protect yourself by peacefully reminding them that you do not agree with their actions.  If it is not possible for you to create enough physical space between yourself and this colleague, try imagining your own personal barricade to mentally guard against intimidation.  Keeping a running log of your communications with this coworker will also prove beneficial should you need to present the issue to a supervisor or HR.

Implementing Strategies

While these are some of the most common concerns that often arise among colleagues in the workplace, there are, unfortunately, a wide and varied range of intolerances that employees must learn to counterbalance.  Often, those who are ill-treating you may not necessarily realize the gravity of their actions; and those who are aware, may not actually expect you to speak up or seek supportive resources. In fact, there may be circumstances where it’s best to not respond and reflect on what is actually happening.  Is the problem endemic to the office or is it focused specifically on you?  Are there others who may be victims as well?  These are some of the factors which will change your response options.

Nevertheless, plotting and arranging an effective defense strategy – whether through pre-composed statements or by incorporating the assistance of your company’s leaders and human resource department – will assist you in your efforts to diffuse any persistently negative situations.

Businesswoman in a meeting with a colleague

The Takeaway

The key to solving problems is being able to see both sides of the issue, approaching it in a professional manner, and being civil.  There will always be injustices and you’ll not always get the credit you are due.  Ultimately, however, if you make it a policy to always over-deliver, to put the team first, and help others be great, you’ll have the respect of your peers and a success you deserve.


Fred Coon, CEO

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Have You Chosen the Wrong Job? How to Recover and get Back on Track

Do you go to work simply because that’s the expectation both from yourself and from your employer?  Are you perplexed at the thought that there are those who enjoy going to work each day?  While it’s true that only a small percentage of people truly love their jobs, and would happily do it even without any pay, about 30 percent of us manage to garner some satisfaction from our daily work.

Job Target Shows Employment Occupation Profession

It’s Easier to Hate than Love

While it has been said that 70 percent of all people “hate” their jobs, this can be somewhat misleading.  More believable, is the statistic that approximately 20 percent of the workforce is actively disengaged from their job, and the remaining 50 percent are just muddling through, feeling unappreciated, unrewarded, and undervalued.

In a sense, “hating your job” alleviates a certain amount of pressure; it deceptively “relieves” you of the responsibility of having to perform at peak levels; you no longer feel as if you have to put forth a stellar effort because no one will care or notice.  Unfortunately, disengaged employees often feel as though they can “drop off the radar” and let someone with a higher profile handle the criticism for underperformance.

Why would you do that?

In the “olden days” we arose, worked our fields, possibly stopped at midday for a crust of bread and some water, and continued until dusk.  We returned to our rude huts, ate our one meal of the day, and went to bed.  The next day consisted of the same drill, and so on.  We survived/existed, and that was all.

Then, the Industrial Revolution came along.  Jobs became more productive; goods became more available and diverse; and, finally, we developed “leisure time”.  Some people became specialists; they became artisans such as blacksmiths, leather workers, and candle makers, and their value to society increased.

Workers began to see what it was like to experience success within their chosen line of work; they had increased expectations and took on apprentices, and their learners had increased expectations, too.  Expansion and success created the business/shopkeeper class, but largely, most people persisted in “survival mode” for many centuries.

Cometh the Dawn

People have always had ambition toward their jobs, hoping to improve their lot and sometimes expending extraordinary effort to accomplish just that.  Yet, up until the last two decades, it was never the responsibility of the employer to generate job satisfaction for the employees.

In fact, the truth is, it technically still isn’t.  In order to hang onto significant talent some companies are making an effort (for some employees) to make their job rewarding.  In so doing, they manage to retain them with the company for as long as possible.  That’s simply good business.  People who have made an investment in themselves, to cultivate talents which make them valuable, should be valued and protected.

Even throughout the 1960s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, the majority of workers weren’t viewed distinctly enough to warrant special attention.  There were plenty of others that could replace them.

Nowadays, specialized skills, such as those found in IT, are vital to most every company.  The more common skills, such as sales staff, labor, general accountancy, customer service, and so on are more easily replaced and so, often, no special effort is made to create job satisfaction.  This fact alone, may likely explain why 70 percent of us aren’t thrilled with our jobs.

Signs for Change

You’ve been at the job for 6, 12, or 18 months, and the honeymoon phase as come to an end.  Many of the things you were promised have never materialized; some aspects may have been under-delivered; the company may have “changed direction” and the situation may even have deteriorated to some extent.  For example:

  • You’re bored and underutilized.  Your skills are growing rusty from lack of use.
  • You dread going to work each morning because you know that your daily efforts will result in continued futility.
  • Your overtime has become a daily affair, spiraling out of control and significantly affecting your non-work life; expectations for a single worker are too high/unrealistic.
  • The office culture is in direct opposition to you.  It seems plodding and slow, when your tendency is to be on the go all the time (or vice-versa).
  • You exchange pleasantries with fellow workers, but there is not a single one that you would call a “friend” (or even an esteemed acquaintance).
  • You can’t identify the path to move ahead; you can’t find a way to earn a promotion and get away from an unfulfilling daily grind.
  • The company is on shaky financial ground, and maybe it’s time for you to move on before you get drawn down with them.
  • You’re experiencing apathy, or skyrocketing anxiety; you’re gaining or losing weight, and/or suffering from stress-related exhaustion.
  • Your direct manager appears outwardly stressed, unhappy, and/or in a continuous state of panic. His/her own disorganization increases as the chances that you (or your coworkers) will receive the blame for mistakes when superiors begin to seek answers.

Leave or Stay?

Even if you have only been at your job for a month or two, if you realize that the company is a bad fit, getting back into the job market might leave you with some explaining to do about this short-lived position. However, it can be done, and, likewise, it should not be the sole reason for staying.

On the other hand, being honest with your current employer and saying “This isn’t working out the way I expected” could actually generate some positive changes.  If they like your work, they could very well adjust aspects of your job that would make it completely acceptable to you.  You might actually find yourself with a lifelong career, simply because you spoke up.

Regardless of your choice, you will still need to step up your networking; since ending a months-long search when you obtained this job could lead to complacency about your contact list.  If asked point-blank about changing jobs so soon, rather focus on the fact that, while the job wasn’t an ideal fit, you gained valuable skills and experience which will prove beneficial in future positions.

Happy businessman sitting at the table in office

Making the Move

Do you need to enroll in four more years of college?  Almost certainly not; most times you merely need to move to a different environment, a different company with similar duties, where you enjoy a better fit.

Even if you are targeting a complete career change, there are plenty of transferable skills.  However, don’t just quit right away.  Plan your job search so that you will not go without a salary which could force you into another less-than-ideal employment situation.

The Takeaway

Before you go, make sure you leave something behind, a legacy if you will, that leaves the company just little bit better off than you found it.  It might be a new way of managing the office sports pool, or a complete redesign of the inventory system for the whole company.  Leave something good behind.  That’s the sort of thing that will follow you, and cast you in a positive light long after you’ve moved on.


Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

The Right Way to List Job Titles on Your Résumé

When it comes to composing a résumé, we expend a great deal of time and effort carefully wording and arranging our specific employment skills; possibly even more energy than we do on our actual job titles.  While there is certainly no excuse for failing to adequately convey the details of your expertise, remember that your job titles are equally as essential, and likewise, as noticeable as the aspects that follow.


First, job seekers must take into account that the job title assigned to them by their employer may not necessarily coincide with what should be listed on their résumé.  However, this is not to be confused with changing the characteristics of the job itself, or what its title represents.  The fact is that a company will often assign their own (sometimes “extravagant”) title to a specific role within the organization.  Yet, this title may not always coincide with the industry standard.  In an example provided by the article, “Don’t Get Creative With Job Titles in Your Résumé”, it is suggested that if your last employer gave you an innovative-sounding role, such as “Data Janitor II”, for instance, you will want to list your job title as the more typical “Database Analyst” when drafting your résumé. The essence of the job is unchanged, but with a standard title, your résumé has a greater chance of ending up in the right hands. The goal is to assure that your résumé is viewed by as many eyes as possible, and listing your job titles according to the industry-standard is one way to achieve this.

The next question is whether or not to list your intended job title in the beginning of your résumé.  Often, just below the contact information, applicants will include an objective line which often consists of the exact job they are looking for.  In some cases, a clear objective that directly indicates your goals can work to your advantage with hiring managers, but this is only if your proposed job title is an exact match for the open position.  Given the wide range of intricate job titles that seem to fall under a surprisingly fewer number of actual roles available within a given industry, it may be a better idea to omit the objective line altogether, allowing prospective employers to skip right to your skill set and work history.  Thus, hiring managers have to opportunity to gain a more comprehensive perspective of your potential value to their organization, which could potentially lead to even more employment opportunities in the long run.  However, if you wish to keep your résumé’s objective line, consider listing a description of the job you are seeking, rather than one specific title.

Another quandary job hunters sometimes encounter is how to list multiple job titles under the same company.  Perhaps you were promoted once, or even several times, by the same employer and you’re unsure of how to clearly depict your shifting job titles.  We suggest two basic options, depending on the layout of your résumé.

Résumés where work history is organized according to company name:

XYZ Company, Inc.

Executive Director (2014-2017)

  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments
  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments

Branch Manager (2007-2014)

  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments
  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments

Supervisor (2002-2007)

  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments
  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments

Résumés where work experience is organized according to job title:

Executive Director, XYZ Company, Inc. (2014-2017),

  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments
  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments

Branch Manager, XYZ Company, Inc. (2007-2014)

  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments
  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments

Supervisor, XYZ Company, Inc. (2002-2007)

  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments
  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments


When drafting your résumé, remember that the correct representation of your prior job titles will offer prospective employers an all-inclusive view of your work history, as well a promising perspective of your value as an employee. Therefore, carefully consider your goals according to the nature of your field, and choose your words wisely.


Fred Coon, CEO


At SC&C we offer Career Analysis to help senior decision-makers from all walks of life identify strategies and tactics to increase their value-add employment potential.

5 Tips for Staying Organized During Your Job Search

There is little question that an effective, and often successful, job search is an organized one.  Those who have been navigating the job market for any length of time will truly understand the magnitude of what goes into a well-functioning job search.

Furthermore, now that the ability to acquire and track essential information is utterly at our fingertips, employers naturally expect job candidates to display a new level of awareness, knowledge, and reliability.  This, in turn, adds another layer of complexity beyond simply maintaining a list of names, phone numbers, and email addresses.

Order Or Chaos Keys Shows Either Organized Or Unorganized

With this in mind, we will explore some practical ways for hopeful candidates to sustain an organized and successful job search process.

  1. Designate Your Workstation – An organized space is conducive to an organized mind. Creating a specific area where you can peacefully search and apply for jobs online, make phone calls, and check email is an important part of maintaining an orderly job search.  Be sure your workstation is free of unrelated items, such as books, bills, and other random papers which could become mixed up with your job-related materials.  Consider investing in an inexpensive desk organizer to keep your supplies in order and reduce distraction.
  2. Create a Table/Spreadsheet – While this may seem like simple advice, it is very easy to become lost in a sea of barely legible paper scraps during a hectic job search.  Notes jotted down during online searches and important phone calls can be easily misplaced or misfiled.  However, a creating a spreadsheet or table with a suitable software program can eliminate the risk of losing important information. To keep your data separate and organized, Rae Sanders, Team Leader and Principal Staffing Manager at WynterWyman, suggests creating functional columns in your spreadsheet; such as Company, Contact Name, Email/Phone, Application Date, Interview Date/Time, Follow-Up Date(s), and Application Status. We recommend also adding sections for important keywords and – based upon your own research – essential facts about the company that would be useful during an interview.
  3. Use a Multi-Subject Notebook – If perhaps, you are not comfortable with a computerized spreadsheet, there is nothing wrong with keeping written records of your job search the old fashion way, with an organized notebook. To avoid confusion, just remember to make sure the notebook isn’t used for any other purpose.  We suggest opting for a larger multi-subject notebook with built-in tabs to help you stay extra organized.  Anna Runyan, CEO and Founder of the Forbes’ renowned website, Classy Career Girl, also recommends allocating sections of your notebook for drafting cover letters, taking notes during interviews, networking, as well as keeping track of your applications and interview appointments.
  4. Make Your Smartphone Work for You – If you’ve been searching for a new job, chances are you’ve already been habitually checking your Smartphone for important messages.  Why not, then, make use of the myriad of Smartphone applications that can help you, not only stay organized, but never miss an appointment? The simplest of apps – the calendar — should actually have already been loaded on your device when you received it.  Entering all appointments into your calendar, as well as vital alert settings, will ensure that you never double-book, miss, or are late for an interview or meeting.  To take things a step further, research the plethora of job search-related organizational apps that are available, such as the highly recommended, JibberJobber, which acts as a virtual dashboard for your career search.  With this particular app, you can upload and import the entirety of your job search materials, including your resume, notes, and email; managing them all from one convenient location.
  5. Phone Call Preparation – In our mobile world, there is a strong chance that your next important phone call will arrive at a time when you are away from your workstation.  As organized as your job search may have been up until this point, you can still feel quite frenzied when trying to accurately grasp important information while in a public place or crowded area. The best advice is to be prepared by keeping your cell phone fully charged and have writing materials handy at all times.  Consider purchasing a portable phone charger for your car, and most definitely keep a travel-sized notepad and pen in your pocket or handbag, should you need to safely pull over to take a phone call.  If you happen to be in a noisy environment at the time of the call, do your best to move to a quieter space.  If you absolutely cannot leave your location, at least be sure to write down the correct contact information until you reach a destination where you can speak properly with the caller.


Working on laptop


A great portion of staying organized is remaining mindful and alert.  Taking these five guidelines into account will not only keep your own job search on track, but will likely allow you to stand out to hiring managers as a well thought-out, sensible job candidate.

Fred Coon, CEO


Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.