Friday, April 17, 2015

How to Sideline your Wine Career: Drink and Drive


T.G.I.Friday!  Cheers everyone--here's to a hard week at work!  Let's stop by the bar and grab a couple of drinks to get the weekend started off right.  We did our best this week, whether that was signing a big sales contract, dealing with unseasonably warm weather in the vineyards, bottling the first round of wines or finishing up our tax returns.  It is time to celebrate the beginning of the weekend.  And we are so lucky to be in the wine and spirits industry.  We know what to drink, we know where to get it and often we have friends and co-workers who will share in the celebration.  So bottoms up!

That is quite the siren song, and I wouldn't be here if I had not shared many a happy hour with co-workers, hosted clients to a wine dinner or participated in my fair share of wine tastings.  But that siren song can have a high price, especially if it is paired with the siren of a cop car pulling you over on suspicion of driving under the influence.

DUI:  An Occupational Hazard?  I have heard plenty of folks in the wine industry say that drinking and driving comes with the territory; an occupational hazard so to speak.  I've also met plenty of people who had one too many, stepped behind the wheel and ended up with a DUI.  In turn they end up losing their job and spending over $40,000 because of the DUI.  Not much to celebrate after that happens.  And unfortunately, I have also had friends and family lose a loved one in a drunk driving accident.

Drunk driving laws have gotten stricter over the years.  According to MADD, the number of drunk driving deaths has been cut in half since MADD was founded in 1980.  We can all agree that reducing the drunk driving death rate is extremely important, and stricter laws have done that.


Now, for those of us who have never had a DUI, we may not know the high cost of getting one.  It may not be important to you now, but believe me, if you get a DUI you will very quickly come to realize the true cost of it.  First there is the actual monetary cost.  The DMV.org website has a great reference article,  The Real Cost of a DUI in California.  According to this the overall cost of a DUI here is $45,435.  That's a lot.  But there are long term costs that are not taken into account that I think you need to know about.  And they are in your career.

Over the years I have talked to many people who only learned about the detrimental effects of a DUI to their career after they got the DUI.  Some people lose their jobs because they can't drive for work under the employer's insurance.  Others cannot get their dream job because the employer requires a criminal background check and their records will show an arrest and conviction--whether it be a misdemeanor (often for a first offense without any injuries) or a felony (subsequent offenses or injuries or death to others while driving under the influence).  Employers may back off on making an offer to someone with this kind of criminal baggage and hire another person.

From Rising Star to Underemployed:  One of the first stories I heard was of a young, aspiring distributor sales representatives who had recently been promoted to manage sales in a large metropolitan territory.  This sales manager was the rising star and went to dinner with one of the company's executives.  After sampling some great wines, enjoying a wonderful dinner and probably having a night cap, she drove off towards her new house in the suburbs.  The world was her oyster, and she was living her dream of success.  That was until she was pulled over and her field sobriety test showed her way over the legal limit.

Of course she was panicked, and dealt with the legal aspects of her arrest and conviction, but she also quickly learned what the cost was to her career.  Once her employer found out they terminated her position because she could not be driving on company business.  Having just relocated to the area, she didn't have the safety net of family and friends nearby and had to go it alone finding a way to support herself while also paying the high legal costs of the DUI.  Looking at new jobs, distributor sales positions were essentially unavailable to her because of the requirement of a clean driving record.  Having built her career on distributor sales, she had to quickly regroup and figure out what else she could do.  A DUI can stay on your driving record for 10 years in California, so she needed to reinvent herself.  She enrolled in an MBA program with a great local business school and was up front with potential employers about her DUI.  She ended up getting a sales management position with a small winery and has been getting her MBA completed.  The DUI costs may have been around $40,000 but she took an annual pay cut of close to $40,000.  Four years into it she would have missed out on over $160,000 in salary.  Ouch!

Young Student Doing Everything Right Until the DUI:  A more recent story I heard was of a student in the Viticulture and Enology program at a well known California university.  This guy had recently turned 21 and was at a bar on the weekend.  He had some drinks and then hit the road.  Unfortunately, he had a bike rack on his car that caused his license plate to be blocked.  A CHP saw that and pulled him over.  When he was pulled over, the officer detected alcohol on his breath, gave him the breathalyzer and he was over the legal limit.  Now he has a DUI and can't work in viticulture;  his chosen field.  He had already worked in various viticulture positions, building strong experience for his future career.  With the DUI, he most likely cannot work in most viticulture positions due to the need to drive a company truck and be on the company's insurance to drive vehicles and operate machinery.  He has had to rethink his future and is now looking at cellar and enology positions at companies that do not require a clean driving record.

My advice to him is to stay keep his record clean, build up a strong list of references and stay on top of his DUI record.  It is expensive, but anything that can be done to make your driving record reflect a lesser offense is worth it.  In some states you can get a past conviction expunged.  Nolo Press has some great information about DUIs, including this on getting a DUI off your record.

Don't Drink and Drive.  It can ruin your career.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Management: Introverts and Extroverts


I'm always interested in the best way to manage people--taking into consideration their personality traits and how to make the most of everyone in your team, not just those who perform well in a group.  Topmanagementdegrees.com sent me this great info graphic about how best to manage and mentor introverts and extroverts.  



Introverts and Extroverts
Source: topmanagementdegrees.com

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Hourly to Salary: The Good and The Bad

Featuring a guest contributor, Amy Klimek of ZipRecruiter.  The Pros and Cons of being salaried

Hourly to Salary: The Good And The Bad
Many hourly employees aspire to earn a salary. A salary, after all, represents guaranteed income in a sense, and this can give you peace of mind in knowing that you will have a steady source of income as long as you have the job. You may have been offered a salary position, and you may be wondering if you should give up an hourly job. Perhaps you are searching for a new job, and you are wondering if you should look for an hourly or salary position. There are pros and cons associated with both types of pay structures, and you may need to look at each position carefully. In addition, you should consider your personal financial situation before you make a final decision about which pay structure is best for you.

What to Expect From an Hourly Position 
With an hourly job, you are required to log your hours at work using the employer's preferred method. This may be a standard punch card system, a paper log sheet or even a computerized system. At the end of each pay period, your total hours worked will be calculated. You will receive compensation at the specified hourly rate for the exact amount of time that you worked. This means that the amount of your paychecks will most likely fluctuate from pay period to pay period. You will receive no guaranteed income, and if you are late to work or if your shift is cut short, your take-home income will reflect this.

Steady Income From a Salary
With a salary, your employer will specify how much money you will earn over the course of a year. This amount is divided equally by the number of pay periods for the employer's pay schedule. If you arrive a few minutes late one day, if the office is closed due to bad weather or if some other event prevents you from working your full shift one day, you generally will not be penalized. Both full-time hourly and salary positions may qualify for sick time and vacation time, but you may find that many employers are more lenient or flexible with time off for doctor's appointments or if you are running a little bit late one day for salary employees. This is not the case with all employers, but it is rather common.

A Word About Overtime An important difference to note between hourly and salary positions relates to overtime. A standard work week is considered to be 40 hours. The hourly rate that non-salaried professionals receives applies to the first 40 hours worked during a week. Any time that you work beyond this 40 hours during a week may qualify for overtime pay. There are some exceptions to this, but generally, you will be well-compensated if you are required to work extra hours during a week. Some hourly employees count on the availability of overtime to pad their paychecks, and they actively seek out overtime hours. With a salaried position, you generally will not be compensated for overtime pay. Essentially, hourly employees are paid an annual salary in exchange for a specific job being done. If it takes you longer to do your job, you will not receive extra income. In some cases, salaried employees may regularly work as many as ten or 12 hours or day, and some may even work six or seven days per week.

Making a Decision That is Right For You 
Each job position is unique, and each employee is also unique. For a position where overtime is common or even expected, a higher than average salary may be adequate compensation. However, if an average salary is offered and the employee likely will be required to work more than 40 hours per week, this may not be financially beneficial to an employee. An job applicant may need to ask questions during the interview and hiring process to determine how many hours he or she will reasonably be expected to work before making a decision. In addition, the job applicant's personal financial situation should also be taken into account. Those who have some flexibility with regards to the amount of their take-home pay each pay period may more comfortably accept an hourly position.

In some cases, job applicants will not be able to choose between an hourly or salary position. The pay structure will generally be determined by the employer rather than the employee. However, if you are in the enviable position of being able to select between two job offers or if you want to make sure that you will be compensated well for the work that you are being asked to do, you should understand the differences between hourly and salary positions. While the face value of a job offer may seem attractive, it is always important to determine if it is generous based on the work required of you and if it is ideal for your financial situation. 

Amy Klimek is an experienced HR recruiter and VP of Human Resources for ZipRecruiter, a company that simplifies the hiring process for small to medium size businesses. Prior to that Amy has held similar roles at Rent.com, eBay and US Interactive.

For Amy, corporate culture isn't about dogs and free lunches, it's about empowering employees and creating an enriching environment for people to excel.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Two new employment laws in effect in California

With the new year brings new employment laws.  Recently I attended the Cook Brown LLP law firm's legislative update where they discussed two new updates effective in 2015.  Cook Brown LLP Partner Barbara Cotter gave me a quick summary of these below:

Governor Brown signed two pieces of legislation last year that will have a major impact on nearly all California employers.  One deals with the common use of temporary agency or staffing agency employees.  The other deals with paid sick leave.  The first law, now found at Labor Code Section 2810.3,  provides that an employer who obtains workers from a staffing or temporary agency will be held responsible for all wages and worker’s compensation coverage due those workers, even if they are formally hired, supervised and paid by the agency.   This dramatically changes the risk of hiring temporary workers.  Previously, an employer could only be held responsible for agency employees where the employer actually controlled the work performed by the employees and provided hands-on instruction on how the work was to be accomplished.  This new law totally supersedes those prior rules.  Now, an employer can be held strictly responsible even if the employer has never met the staffing agency employees, never dealt with them directly and does  not dictate how they perform the work.  Two key exceptions apply however:  In order to be subject to this law, the employer must have at least 25 workers (including those supplied by the agency); and must utilize more than five agency workers.  This law is effective January 1, 2015.

The second law, known as the “Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014,” requires that on July 1, 2015, an employee who works for thirty or more days for an employer is entitled to paid sick days to be accrued at a rate of no less than one hour for every thirty hours worked.  An employee is entitled to use sick pay after on or after the ninetieth day of employment.  The sick pay can be capped at three days per year.  Limited exceptions apply to employees subject to collective bargaining agreements and in certain industries, such as in-home care.  The employer must provide a report on the sick pay accrued and used, along with the employee’s paystub.  Employers are required to post a notice of this new law.  The Department of Industrial Relations has published a sample notice on its website at www.dir.ca.gov.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Healthy Workplaces/Healthy Families Act of 2014: Paid Sick Leave

Last week I attended Cook Brown, LLP's employment law seminar about employment law changes coming up in 2015.  One big change for employers is the new law requiring paid sick leave for all employees.  To learn more about this legislature, and what it may mean to your business, visit the legal brief here.

Starting at the beginning of next year, make sure you have this poster displayed where employees can easily read it.