In the scheme of things….

It is 2023 and I am not sure I believe that things have changed as much as we think they have.  You hear people talk about the good old days or ask, “What’s this generation coming to?”.   We just don’t seem to accept that some things just never change or change very little.  I still believe that today and yesterday there were good people and not so good people, that some people were thoughtful about the future legacy they are leaving and some people don’t think about it at all. 

This was confirmed (that things don’t change as much as we think they do) when I found Tom’s grandfather’s employee handbook from 1934.  Here are some comparisons in content excerpted from it to a sample employee handbook of today.  How interesting!!!

Leave of Absence


Employees will not be granted leave of absence for a longer period than six months, except in the cases of sickness of himself or family or when agreed to between the employee and management.


An extended leave of absence can be available as a reasonable accommodation.  An employee who desires such an accommodation should communicate this to the Human Resources Manager.  The Human Resources Manager will engage in an interactive process with the employee by which the possibility of a personal leave of absence can be fully explored.  See FMLA for more information.



An employee disciplined or who feels unjustly treated, shall upon making written request to the immediate superior officer within ten days from the date of advice or occurrence, be given a fair and impartial hearing within ten days thereafter and a decision will be rendered within twenty days after completion of the hearing.  The right to appeal to the Manager of Personnel is conceded.


The Company seeks to deal openly and directly with its employees and believes that communication between employees and management is critical to solving problems.

Employees that may have an issue or problem that needs to be resolved should work with the supervisor, first, to attempt to agree upon a resolution.

If a resolution cannot be agreed upon, the employee should present his or her issue, in writing, to the next level manager.  The issue can be raised through the chain of command including:

  • Administrator
  • Vice President
  • President

The decision of the President is final.

A Day’s Work/Hours of Work


For eight hours pay eight hours work shall be performed.  Eight consecutive hours, exclusive of the meal period, shall constitute a day.  Regular assigned daily working hours shall not be reduced below eight except by mutual agreement between employees and supervising officer. When less than eight hours are worked for convenience of employees or when due to inclement weather interruptions occur to regular established work period preventing eight hours work, only actual time worked or held on duty will be paid.


The standard workweek for full-time employees is typically five days, eight hours per day.  Schedules (beginning and ending times, meal periods, etc.) may vary based on the Company’s and customer’s needs.  Employees may not deviate from the Company’s hours of work unless the supervisor approves a modification.  It is understood that employees may be required to work additional hours to accommodate certain deadlines.

If the employee chooses not to work when the work area, work site, or location is designated as open, and there are severe weather conditions, the employee will be required to use PTO, if available. If PTO is not available, the employee will not be paid.

Supervising Employees/Exempt Employees


Employees whose responsibilities and or supervisory duties require service in excess of the working hours or days assigned for the general force will be compensated on a monthly rate to cover all service rendered.


Exempt Salaried Employees typically work more than 40 hours per week and are exempt from overtime pay requirements under federal and state law and therefore are not entitled to receive payment for overtime regardless of how many hours they work per week.

Wow!  Hope you find this as fascinating as I do.  People and times have not changed much.  For more information about change/not change, see the article “It’s Time to Stop Talking About Generations” by Louis Menand published in the New Yorker last year.


Uniqueness Matters

I ran across a quote this morning that I think is thought-provoking.  Not one that I hadn’t seen before, but still stimulates thought.

“The most serious mistakes are not being made as a result of wrong answers. The truly dangerous thing is asking the wrong question.” – Peter Drucker

If you are at a crossroads in your business or your life, it is time to take stock.  It may be time to make some tough decisions.  It may be time to make major changes.  When I talk about change with clients, they usually think of small changes and rarely think of significant changes.  Change that is comfortable is probably not true change.

Here are some definitions of change that may help you think about change differently:

  • the act or instance of making or becoming different
  • a new or refreshingly different experience
  • a clean or replacement phase

These definitions seem to remind us that true change is more dramatic than we would like it to be.

If you are ready for true change, ask yourself these questions.  Think about your answer for each question for several minutes:

  1. How are you spending your time?  Is your day over scheduled or under scheduled?
  2. Are you doing what you should be doing?
  3. How is what you are doing truly unique compared to your competition?
  4. Are you excited about what you are doing?
  5. Are you learning something every day?
  6. Are you getting the results you want?
  7. What would others say about what you are accomplishing?
  8. Who should help you when making change decisions?
  9. What should your goals be?
  10. What are the next big steps/changes you should be taking to accomplish your goals?

No one else will have the same answers to these questions.  Your answers, your decisions, and your next steps are unique to you and your business.  You may need a sounding board but don’t wait to begin making changes.  Begin now!

“Personal leadership is cultivating the wisdom to recognize our need for renewal and to ensure that each week provides activities that are genuinely re-creational in nature.” – Stephen R. Covey