How to Make More Connections at Conferences


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Author’s note: With EAPA’s annual conference only two months away, the timing seemed right for these reminders to make the most of this event. To learn more about the conference, go to

By Alaina Levine, Guest Blogger

Attending important conferences in your field should be an essential element of your career because each of these gatherings represents a golden opportunity to network. But what if you’re more comfortable taking your drink and hiding behind a potted plant than circulating and chatting at conference mixers? Fear not. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your next conference:

* Don’t wing it. Study the conference program ahead of time. Also, set aside time to attend not just talks and seminars, but also special events such as meet and greets, and other networking-centered affairs.

* Take advantage of the conference app. If the conference you’re attending has an app, download it. These apps are often full of hidden treasures. For example, some apps list all attendees and their contact information, and allow you to send messages within the system.

* Make appointments ahead of time. If you know you’d like to meet with fellow attendees, request appointments with them at least two to three weeks before the conference. They are busy too, so it’s wise to get on their calendars beforehand.

* Leverage the exhibit hall. Don’t just wander around aimlessly looking for free pens and cup holders. Instead, try to learn new things and make connections that will serve you well long after those free pens have run dry. “Especially for large conferences where there may be hundreds of exhibitors, carefully study the list of exhibitors and map out where the ones you really want to visit are located,” Levine instructs.

* Don’t eat alone. At mealtimes, you can usually identify fellow conference participants because they tend to keep their name tags visible. If you see someone eating alone, don’t be afraid to ask, “Do you mind if I join you?” Most people will invite you to sit down. Don’t be tempted to spend your lunch hour reading emails or sending texts when there is networking gold to be had right next to you!

* Be an early (and friendly) bird. Arrive early to talks and sit down near someone you don’t know. This is a great opportunity to network, especially for introverts, because there is a reason to speak with the other person: You are both here to attend the same session. As soon as the speaker begins, you can whisper, ‘It was great to meet you. May I have your business card?’ Now you’re done!”

If you just go to a conference and do nothing after it, you have (almost) completely wasted your time. “After everyone has returned home, it’s up to you to make sure you stay on your new contacts’ radars.”

* Volunteer at the event. Quite frankly, very few people take advantage of this opportunity. Volunteering at a conference establishes you as a hard worker, allows others to observe your dedication to your craft and the association, gives you access to networking opportunities, and opens doors to leadership and other experiences.

* Be sure to follow up. If you just go to a conference and do nothing after it, you have (almost) completely wasted your time. “After everyone has returned home, it’s up to you to make sure you stay on your new contacts’ radars,” Levine notes. “Start by composing an email thanking each person for his or her time at the conference, recapping what you talked about, and suggesting a phone or Skype appointment to further develop your partnership.”

Alaina G. Levine is the author of “Networking for Nerds, Find, Access and Land Hidden Game-Changing Career Opportunities Everywhere” (Wiley, July 2015, ISBN: 978-1-118-66358-5, $29.95, is available at bookstores nationwide, and from major online booksellers.


Workplace Culture MATTERS

Where do you work? A bank? Factory? Doctor’s or counselor’s office? WHAT do you do? Bank teller? EA professional? Physician? Dental hygienist? Now… ask the same people what the CULTURE is like where they work, and you can expect some of the same respondents to roll their eyes at you.

You can’t blame them really, because while workplace culture is important, it tends to fly under the radar in many instances. This is a shame, because I have often found that workplace culture often has more to do than any single reason why an individual can succeed – or fail – on the job. It’s never ceased to amaze me that I have been doing the same type of work in many ways for a lot of years… that being writing, editing, and so on. And yet, it hasn’t been unusual to be fired from one job, while told I was doing great somewhere else! That’s not all.  I once had two editors that were my immediate supervisors: one thought I was doing a good job – while the other one did not!

What gives? This is where workplace culture comes to play, and along with it expectations, micro-cultures, and other factors we’ll have to save for another time. Let’s go back to the previous editors I mentioned, and their two, very different expectations. I was very happy at the time being an associate editor, and the one editor who liked my work was quite pleased with that. He could count on me to do what I was told, do my job well, and make all of the necessary deadlines.

In the case of the other editor, these sorts of tasks and responsibilities were a given. You did them, maybe even well, but so what? This editor didn’t like it if you didn’t aspire to “move up the ladder.” Different editors, different expectations.

What about the culture in general? I have worked with mostly single people when I was married, and mainly married co-workers when I was single – neither is ideal, in fact, both scenarios can be enough to drive you out the door.

Of course, there is more to culture than whether one wears a wedding band or ring. Much more. “Culture, the foundation of any workplace, is made up of individual behaviors,” explains Jennifer Sumiec, CEAP, in her article, “Is that an Elephant in the Room?” “Culture sets expectations for which behaviors are reinforced or extinguished,” she adds.

Sumiec notes that many workplace programs and benefits, including EAPs, are sometimes too focused on the individual and fail to consider the broader cultural context within which those individuals exist. After all, it’s often said that people don’t quit their companies, they quit their bosses!

What does this all mean? “In addition to addressing individual concerns, EA professionals are uniquely positioned to help organizations explore systemic issues,” Sumiec concludes.

However, Sumiec says that the bigger issue is that of MICRO-cultures that form across organizations based on norms established by individuals and leaders within a department or team. While some aspects of culture may be found throughout an organization, Sumiec states, often there are pockets of discontent OR high engagement and productivity.

Again, I completely agree – and can cite examples. At a particular daily newspaper I was a reporter at, there were several newsroom teams that took turns getting out the Saturday paper on Friday evenings. One group, the one that worked alternate Fridays from mine, got along quite well, but only did enough work to get by compared to our team, which cared a lot more about putting out a good product. This of course created animosity between the two groups – I hesitate using the word “team” because neither of us were.

These were micro-cultures at their worst, but it’s not the only example I could name. Newsrooms in general, regardless of the specific paper, tended to be “their own little world,” set apart from the rest of the newspaper departments. “You’re the one department that loses money,” I recall being told once from a publisher. Nice. Unfortunately, I doubt that this sort of toxic environment is that unusual regardless of the type of business.

What does this all mean? “In addition to addressing individual concerns, EA professionals are uniquely positioned to help organizations explore systemic issues,” Sumiec concludes.

It’s been my experience, at least, that there are WAY too many work cultures with conniving, backstabbing, and petty situations in which star employees leave – and WAY too FEW that are thriving, positive places with engaged and satisfied employees.

Workplace culture – don’t overlook it. I don’t.


Trying an Unplugged Lifestyle


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This is the second in a series of posts about the pros and cons of today’s technologically driven age.

Between Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, and others, there is something simple and straightforward about unplugged albums. Take away the keyboards, LOUD amplifiers, and other instrumentation, and suddenly individual notes, once taken for granted since they were flying like radar under the surface, once again dominate the sounds of master musicians like these.

It’s not unlike how we deciphered the sounds of our less cluttered, unplugged lifestyles before smart phones, tablets, pads, earbuds, and Bluetooth devices came in to play to bombard the airwaves of our already busy lives.

As I’ve written before on this blog, I like to think I am not naive to the numerous advantages of today’s Information Age. But, I would point out, do we ever consider the cost?

It’s true we can “google” something in the blink of an eye, and have access to information that would have taken minutes, even hours, to research in a library decades ago. But while we have tons of knowledge, we, conversely, have little discernment about what it all means.

In terms of communication, we can talk to, listen to, and even see people anytime, anywhere on our smart phones and other digital devices. It’s not unusual for me to receive an email from San Diego in the morning, and Beijing, China later in the day. I still revel at that technical advancement. That’s clearly part of the plus side.

On the other hand, does anyone else think it odd that a family of four can be seated in a living room with four distinct conversations going on? Allyson is texting Jamie about tomorrow’s volleyball practice. Jacob is jamming away to Bruno Mars, earbuds firmly in so the volume doesn’t bother anyone else in the room. Meanwhile, Mom is using an electronic calendar to plan out tomorrow’s to-do list. Finally, Dad is relaxing, reading the newest book from his favorite author he just downloaded onto his Kindle.

So what, you might say? Just family life in the 21st century, right? Perhaps, but when these scenes play out day after day, after day after day, after… Is this a good thing? Are four separate conversations, while perhaps unavoidable at times, supposed to be a technological “advancement” over Allyson telling her folks about her big practice tomorrow with the season’s biggest volleyball match just days away?

Or what would be wrong with Jacob excitedly telling his folks what his sister, Allyson, already knows, that Bruno Mars is the best musical entertainer since, well…. (You fill in the blank). Mom and Dad might not agree, but at least they would become aware of something going on in their son’s life – that being his love of music and his favorite artist in particular – as opposed to having no clue what he is listening to on those “buds” of his.

Or, as a friend of mine once told me with a very puzzled look on his face when he found out that I emailed my work colleague, Karen….“Doesn’t she sit right across from you?”

These are just a few of the many, many examples of the disconnections going on in today’s society – both at home, school, work, and everywhere in between. Several people can be engaged at a business conference or meeting, while scores of other colleagues are too busy scrolling through their smart phones to catch the latest news, posts, and updates, to notice what anyone is saying. Is this a technological “advancement”?

I, for one, think we need to try living an unplugged lifestyle more often. We just might find some great notes again underneath all of the heavy drumbeats, and screeching guitar solos.

What are YOU doing in 10 days? Sign up for free webinar on workplace bullying!


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Workplace bullying is systematic psychological abuse aimed at degrading and humiliating others. Research from around the world indicates up to 50% of working adults report that they have been bullied.

Although OSHA and various state and federal regulations require that employers provide a safe and harassment-free work environment, it is an epidemic many employers are ill-equipped to deal with.

Employee Assistance Report and Civility Partners will present the free webinar, “How to Spot, Understand, and Solve Workplace Bullying” at 1 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, July 20.

The presentation will be led by Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, internationally recognized expert on workplace bullying, and head of Civility Partners, and Mike Jacquart, BA, editor of the Employee Assistance Report monthly newsletter.

Join Catherine and Mike as they define workplace bullying and offer tips for helping targets and organizations solve the problem. All information is based on their own experiences and academic research.

Don’t miss this great opportunity to learn how to handle this complicated issue from a true expert in the field!  But time is ticking away! For more info and to register visit

How Millennials Push Their Employers to Move to Better Technologies

By Victoria Pearce

Guest Blogger, Morneau Shepell

Millennials – sigh…everyone loves to gang up on Millennials. They are impatient; short attention spans; too demanding.  Whether that is true in life (and as a Millennial I say it isn’t!) it can certainly be true in the way Millennials interact with technology.  Millennials grew up with computers and cell phones so they are used to using technology to make things simpler.

This also means Millennials aren’t as wowed by technology and expect a lot more from it.  A Millennial will abandon a web page if it takes too long to load or isn’t visually appealing, will prefer texting to calling, and will google rather then ask a question.  This has led companies to change the way they do business, from offering online ordering of pizza to instant messaging customer service.

But Millennials aren’t just your customers they are your employees. Millennials currently make up the largest workforce in Canada, so like it or not you may need to make some of those same changes for your organization.

Here are some ways you can use the lessons learned from your millennial customers for your millennial employees:

  • Put it online– On demand access is key for Millennials who tend not to keep to strict working hours as other generations have.  Most companies have an intranet site for HR forms, benefit information, policies, etc. Use these spots for things like e-learning, video demos, or provide other information to keep your Millennials engaged.
  • Make it interactive– It isn’t enough to just have a location where you place resources online, those resources need to serve a purpose and allow the user to interact.  Things like forms that are submitted at the push of a button rather than completed and attached to an email are far more user friendly and efficient.

A Gallup research report found that 85% of Millennials use the Internet on their phone rather than a laptop1, so ensure you have a mobile experience to match your desktop experience.

  • Make it easy, streamlined and attractive.  There is a saying regarding Millennials – everything I want, nothing I don’t.  Millennials are so good with technology there can sometimes be a misguided sense that they can just ‘figure it out’.  The truth is yes, they probably can figure out where to find the info they need, or a way to work through a glitchy website- but they won’t.  Keep in mind Millennials come from a world of competing technology, so if one website isn’t working they will just abandon it for a better experience.   Make sure the steps required for any task are clear and upfront, only provide the information needed, and avoid pages with too much scrolling.

  • Consider mobile.  With any software developed consider the mobile experience.  A Gallup research report found that 85% of Millennials use the Internet on their phone rather than a laptop1, so ensure you have a mobile experience to match your desktop experience.
  • Know when technology won’t work.  There is a misconception that technology is all Millennials are interested in, which isn’t the case.  Millennials look to technology to make their work simpler, but they still look to their workplace as a place for emotional connection.  That same Gallup research report found that Millennial employees are more engaged and satisfied in the workplace when they have regular feedback and meetings with their managers.


Before you bemoan the changes you might need to make I suggest this- it’s a good thing.  Millennials reach for technology first but by doing so they are helping you create internal efficiencies.  Online absence reporting doesn’t just save you from having to field phone calls, it allows you to automatically notify anyone affected by an absence, ensure proper coverage all while tracking the data allowing you to find trends- with no additional work.

Beyond that, while it may be Millennials that push you to develop new technologies they are really just the catalyst for change that everyone can enjoy.  Facebook may have been started for college kids, but now even your grandpa can post status updates.

1  “How Millennials Want to Work and Live” (2016)

Victoria Pearce, Communications Manager, has been with Morneau Shepell for over 12 years with progressive roles around communications and project management. For the past 6 years she has focused extensively on supporting the Absence Management practice though various strategic projects and creative problem solving.

For more information on Morneau Shepell, visit


We Need to Change the Way We Talk About Politics, and Each Other


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By Dustin McKissen, Guest Blogger

I live in St. Charles, Missouri, right in the part of America country music singers always sing about. My family and I moved here in 2013. About a year later my mom passed away, and my wife and I needed to leave town and take care of her funeral. Unfortunately, we couldn’t afford to bring our kids on such short notice.

Despite knowing very few people in our new community, the entire neighborhood stepped up. Our kids spent a week going from house to house, getting consoled with unlimited mac n’ cheese and Netflix. People here in our adopted hometown look out for each other.

I learned that again the following year.

My wife, who was a stay-at-home mom for 12 years, started volunteering at our community’s startup incubator. A short while later she was hired to be the incubator manager. Valuing the transferrable skills of a stay-at-home mom is a progressive, uncommon employment practice, and for our family it happened in a conservative community in one of the reddest states on the map.

The people of Red-State America aren’t Neanderthals.

My wife isn’t chained to a stove.

My Republican neighbor doesn’t have a welcome mat with a swastika on it.

But some of my neighbors can be just as guilty of thinking of their counterparts in other parts of the country in similarly simplistic terms.

This past December I appeared on Patriot Radio, a conservative channel on Sirius XM. During the show the host kept referring to Democrats as “coastal elites.” Hearing the host use the term made me think of my very liberal brother. He lives in Seattle, but he is no one’s idea of a “coastal elite.” He attends Seattle Seahawks games with his giant beard dyed neon green. He manages an auto parts store and builds hot rods on the side. You will never hear my brother use terms like “safe space” or “trigger word.”

My brother didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton because he wanted to see vanilla ice cream, Chevy trucks, and all else that is good and holy about America banned. In fact, my brother likes vanilla ice cream and owns a Chevy truck. My brother voted for Hillary Clinton for the same reason my neighbor voted for Trump: he believed she was the candidate who best spoke to his concerns.

Even if they didn’t know he was my brother, my Republican neighbors have never shown an inclination to take out one of their multiple firearms and start shooting at him, nor has my brother ever shown a desire to make his way to Missouri and force my Catholic, conservative neighbor to liquidate his 401(k) and give all the money to Planned Parenthood.

You wouldn’t know that from listening to our present political rhetoric. On a regular basis politicians, pundits, bloggers, and a whole lot of regular people use political dialogue laden with references to war and violence—including Senator Rand Paul’s tweet from a year ago that suggested the Second Amendment exists specifically to shoot at the government.

This week the violent rhetoric became more than just mere words with the shooting of Republican congressman Steve Scalise. The shooter, James Hodgkinson, was apparently motivated by his political beliefs and, according to sources, carried a list of Republican legislators he hoped to assassinate. Of course, the heated left/right divide is not solely a feature of American politics. Last year Jo Cox, a British Labour Party politician and Member of Parliament, was murdered by Thomas Muir. Cox was killed because of her stance on political issues, including Brexit.

My wife isn’t chained to a stove. My Republican neighbor doesn’t have a welcome mat with a swastika on it. …You wouldn’t know that from listening to our present political rhetoric.

Carl Phillip Gottfried von Clausewitz, a Prussian general and military theorist, famously said “War is politics is by other means.” Politics as war has become an increasingly common metaphor. Former House Speaker and sometime Donald Trump advisor Newt Gingrich has frequently made a similar statement: “Politics is war without blood.”

Except when politics becomes war with blood. When political language becomes filled with references to metaphorical violence and war, the risk of actual violence skyrockets.

If things don’t change the violence we currently see directed at politicians—which is bad enough—may end up being directed at targets far easier to kill than politicians: each other.

If we want to stop that from happening, we need to start seeing our neighbors as more than left/right caricatures. We need to see the people we share our communities and country with as actual human beings, and remember that labels like “liberal” or “conservative” can never capture the totality of a human being.

We need to remember that there are red state conservatives who hire stay-at-home moms for tech jobs, and blue state liberals who build hot rods and listen to George Strait—and that it is possible for those people to coexist in the same country without hating one another.

And we need to remember that before anyone else gets shot.

This article was adapted and updated from an article that originally appeared on CNBC.

Dustin McKissen is the founder of McKissen + Company, and was recently named one of LinkedIn’s “Top Voices on Management and Culture”. He is also a columnist on, and a contributor for CNBC


Men’s Health Week: We’re All Unique

I could not let Men’s Health Week — celebrated each year as the week leading up to and including Father’s Day — draw to a close without writing a post about this important observance. The idea is to explore “the different ways men and boys are managing to keep healthy, physically and emotionally, in a busy and sometimes challenging world.”

June is also Men’s Health Month, and the intent is very similar: “to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.”

Foremost among health concerns, in my estimation, is men’s mental well-being. Men are four times more likely to die by suicide than women, and suicide is the second-leading cause of death among men ages 25-34. Further, Mental Health America reports that male depression goes undiagnosed 50 to 65 percent of the time.

Since men are taught from little on to suppress our feelings, lest we appear weak, should this be surprising? Fortunately, strides are becoming made toward overcoming this long-time stigma to depression screenings and other assistance. Dr. Rich Mahogany, part Dr. Phil and part Ron “the Anchorman” Burgundy, was created to “man up” mental health and help working-age men think about their emotional problems from a different perspective.

The tools offered by Man Therapy provide employee assistance and other professionals with an innovative method to reach men who might not otherwise use mental health services. One such catch-phrase of Man Therapy reads, “You can’t fix your mental health with duct tape.”

Why am I passionate about this subject you might ask? Good question. First, I had a good friend who took his life in 2008, and so I can relate all too well about how mental health all-too-often remains overlooked in our culture. He still jogged each day and was in much better physical condition than the rest of us high school buddies. No middle age paunch for him! But his death went to show that one can appear to be fine on the outside, when that is not the case whatsoever below the surface.

Millions of men are silently struggling on the inside, and they do not have a way of talking about it. Millions of men and women are aware that something may be wrong with the men they know and care about, but they do not know how to talk with men about it. As a result, we’ve all tacitly agreed that “Doing fine. Can’t complain” is one of the few appropriate responses to the question, “How’s it going?” – Michael Addis, PhD

Second, while I fortunately did not fall to the depths my friend did, I too know what it is like to have inner demons to deal with. I have written on this blog before about being diagnosed with depression and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) in 2002. I am convinced that this discovery – through divine intervention, and correspondingly an EAP – kept me from a nervous breakdown (or worse).

While it is very unfortunate that my friend did not end up receiving the help that I did, perhaps one of the reasons I am still here is to tell others about the importance of mental health screenings. Some still say this shows a man as being “weak.” Poppycock. I would go to the other extreme; that is, seeking help is actually a sign of strength in showing that you suspect something is wrong and you want to do something about it.  And, I might add, not just for yourself, but to improve the quality of life of your loved ones as well! You might think, “That is just the way I am, there’s nothing wrong with me” but what does it hurt to get “checked out”?

But don’t just take my word for it. Many experts recognize the need for men to overcome the stigma of discussing their feelings and seeking assistance when necessary. “Men’s silence and invisibility have become so common that we treat them as normal, rather than seeing them for what they are: major social problems that can be remedied if we understand where they come from and take the right steps to change them,” writes Michael E. Addis, PhD, author of Invisible Men: Men’s Inner Lives and the Consequences of Silence.

Finally, I can also relate to psychosocial issues because I am not a typical guy in a lot of ways. I am not good with my hands, and I am lucky if I can back my car out of the garage without hitting something, let alone back and maneuver an 18-wheeler. If I was driving a big rig, I would take out tree limbs and power lines! I am also not coordinated enough to “golf” without leaving so many divots it’d make the gopher from Caddyshack look like he didn’t do a single thing to the course in that famous laugh-fest.

While it wasn’t always easy to be “different” I can poke fun at myself now because I finally came to the realization that each of us is a unique male, and this includes our physical and mental attributes.

I’ll conclude on a serious note: Just as workplaces have realized they can make an impact on reducing heart disease by encouraging exercise, they can also make an impact on reducing suicide by promoting mental health and encouraging early identification and intervention.

For more information on this topic, see:

Workplace Violence: Assessing Individuals for Likelihood is Never Easy


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It’s a scene that has become all too familiar in the workplace: A disgruntled former employee opens fire on a number of workers before killing himself. This unfortunate scenario reared its ugly head again on June 5, when John R. Neumann Jr., 45, who had been fired in April, entered the Fiamma Inc. building in Orlando at roughly 8 a.m. ET and opened fire, according to Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings and USA Today.

Four of the victims, three men and a woman, were found dead at the scene, the sheriff said. Another man died a short time later at a hospital. The body of Neumann, an Army veteran discharged in 1999, was also found at the scene.

Demings said Neumann had previously been accused of assaulting a co-worker but not charged. The victim in that case was not among the victims, he added.

Psychological Tests are Not Reliable

The problem in such cases is that standardized psychological tests are not reliable or valid tools for predicting which persons will be violent, according to Bruce Blythe, an internationally acclaimed crisis management expert and author of Blindsided: A Manager’s Guide to Catastrophic Incidents in the Workplace. “The capability simply doesn’t exist to pick the ‘needle out of the haystack’ through psychological tests and fitness-for-duty exams,” Blythe stated.

While there are no methods that can completely and accurately predict which specific employees are going to become violent in the workplace, various guidelines offer important and defensible considerations for assessing the likelihood of workplace violence.

Warning Signs

Employers and employees need to recognize the warning signs of workplace violence so that everyone can act as eyes and ears to report unusual behavior, according to Mimi Lanfranchi. (At the time of this writing, she was a Senior Vice President with Allied Barton Security Services.)

Lanfranchini stresses that managers must be alert to these indirect pleas for help (and utilize key resources such as the EAP): 1) excessive tardiness or absences; 2) increased need for supervision; 3) reduced productivity; 4) inconsistency; 5) strained workplace relationships; 6) inability to concentrate; 7) violation of safety procedures; 8) unusual behavior; 9) substance abuse; 10) excuses and/or blaming; and/or 11) depression.

Methods for Determining Who is most Likely to Become Violent

While there are no methods that can completely and accurately predict which specific employees are going to become violent in the workplace, various guidelines offer important and defensible considerations for assessing the likelihood of workplace violence. According to Blythe these methods include, but are not limited to the following:

* Assessment of potential violence needs to consider the psychological makeup and behavioral tendencies of the threatening person. Questions about anger problems, sense of entitlement, depression, and/or suicide are important. Does the person engage in poor judgment, repeatedly mention violent methods to resolve a personal issue, or demonstrate negative coping skills? Substance abuse is also often correlated with violent offenders. A history of violence is the best predictor of future violence.

* Assessment of potential violence should also include “context” and the evolving situation. Typically, a good starting point is to understand that potentially violent and threatening individuals almost always feel unfairly treated. Are there job problems, especially insubordination? Does the individual overly identify with his/her job position?

* Another important consideration pertains to people who know or have had contact with the threatening individual. A key indicator of intended workplace violence is to assess the “gut level feeling” about violent propensities from people familiar with the individual. Do people in the workplace (or others) feel afraid or intimated by this person? Does the EA professional, management or employees have an intuitive sense that the individual is someone who could become violent in the workplace or elsewhere?

It is also worth noting that, according to Blythe, only 36% of workplace assailants commit suicide. This means that 64% aren’t suicidal enough to kill themselves following violent acts.

This article is not all inclusive of Blythe’s or other professionals’ methods for assessing individuals at risk for violence. Neither should it be construed as legal advice, but as an overview of good business practices.


We can Learn a Lot from Our Dogs

It is sometimes said that the best therapists are furry and have four legs. I would add that I think our dogs make pretty darn good teachers as well.

Yes, you read that right. It’s true WE teach our dogs a lot – how to sit, shake hands, heel, and so on. With the proper training, some dogs even become guard dogs, service dogs, and seeing-eye dogs. But I think it quite possible, even likely, that they actually teach us even more.

The reason I say this is because our Maltese, Baxter, passed recently, and I have been thinking not only about what he meant to us, but what we learned from him. Consider:

* Dogs teach us how to live life one day at a time. I thought for sure we would have Baxter at least a few more years, but what do I know? Earlier this month, he suddenly became gravely ill, and it was clear he was suffering. I was not ready to say goodbye to our four-legged best friend, and yet my wife convinced me that we had to. His passing reminded me just how fleeting life really is, and how this is true for not only people, but especially our pets, who only live a fraction as long as we do.

Resources for those grieving the loss of a pet:

Love is a Dog   

Rainbow Bridge ……..

Besides, ever known a dog that didn’t know how to enjoy each day? On many a stressful day at my computer, I would look down and see Baxter looking at me, probably eager for a treat, and I would think to myself, “With love like that, how bad can it really get?”

* Dogs teach us loyalty. Ever known an animal more loyal than a dog? Baxter would follow me from room to room to room throughout the day. Whatever I was doing, wherever I was, that was where he wanted to be. Sometimes, I would swear he was too “zonked out” (sleeping) to notice I was out of the room. Nope! I’d be in the bathroom…next thing I knew… there would be Baxter lurking into the room to see where I was!

* Dogs teach us unconditional love. We humans certainly know how to love pretty well on our own, but it is easier said than done to love as unconditionally as our four-legged friends. defines unconditional as, “absolute, complete, and unqualified.” Consider prenuptial agreements as but one example. “I will love you if….” Love, but with strings attached. But there is no such thing for dogs…They don’t care what we do, or how much money we make. They love us. Period.

Here are some of the other things that dogs teach us:

1) Let someone scratch behind your ear or rub your belly once in a while – it feels good!

2) Stick your head out a window and let the wind rush past your face – that feels good, too!

3) There’s no such thing as too much of a good thing! See #1 and #2.

4) “To the world, we might be one person, but to one person – or a pet – we might be the world.” – Anon.

5) “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” – Anon.

It is said that God brings pets into our lives to show us how to love, and they leave to teach us about loss.

RIP Baxter – you taught us a lot.

CAPTIONS: Dogs certainly don’t teach us anything about computers! (photo above left), but they sure teach us a lot of other things. One thing dogs are good at (and even people) is napping – Baxter and I nodding off (above right). Baxter and I getting ready for Halloween (above left).

Ghost Writer / Blogger for Hire!

Boy, I’d sure like to write a blog, but I don’t have the time!

Are you a busy employee assistance or other workplace professional who has ever said something like that to yourself?

Did you know that a blog is one of the best ways to enhance awareness of your services? Did you also know that someone can write them for you anonymously? (Known in journalism circles as “ghost writers.”)

If you would like to start a blog to enhance awareness of your services but can’t find the time, email me at