Cementing the Deal for the Ideal Job

The phone rings. It’s the call you’ve been waiting for. "We want to

offer you a position," says the voice on the other end of the line.

You breathe a sigh of relief. The hard work of job searching is over.

You’ve finally gotten the job you wanted.

But the work isn’t really over, it’s just begun, says career counselor

Jim Borland, a senior vice president with the Five O’Clock Club, an

organization designed to help people negotiate the job search process.

Whether you are just out of college and applying for your very first

position, or are an executive with years of experience, now that you

have the offer, you have to navigate the process from the offer

through the salary and benefits negotiations to a written contract.

Borland will discuss "Cementing the Deal" at the next meeting of the

St. Paul’s Networking Group, Saturday, January 19, at 8:30 a.m. at St.

Paul’s Catholic Church, 214 Nassau Street, Princeton. For more

information about this free event, contact Steve McCarthy at

732-512-1300.

Borland has been with the Five O’Clock Club since 1994, and first

joined as a member during one of his own career transitions. He began

his career as a social worker and spent a number of years as director

of social work at the United States Public Health Service Hospital on

Staten Island. He then became national director of professional

services for the 37-unit Bureau of Medical Services until the closure

of the system in 1981.

"President Reagan fired me," he says, referring to the massive changes

and layoffs in the public health services at the time. He decided to

change directions to help people in the area of career counseling. "It

was learning by doing. I figured I’d spent a lot of time looking for

jobs myself," he says.

Borland holds a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University, a master’s

from Penn and a Ph.D. from Rutgers. He is a certified social worker in

New York State, and a board certified diplomat in clinical social

work.

He has been a senior vice president of Goodrich & Sherwood Associates

Inc., where he was responsible for client relationships and executive

outplacement, as well as a senior vice president for Drake Beam Morin.

At the Five O’Clock Club he manages the Manhattan central club and

counsels at the main club. He also maintains a private consulting

practice in Manhattan and Staten Island. He has consulted on

organizational change issues with the U.S. Department of Energy and

with International Paper, and is an adjunct associate professor in the

graduate management program of Polytechnic University in Brooklyn.

Negotiate the Job. The first step in closing the deal and in

negotiating the salary, says Borland, is to help your potential

employer to define the job and to convince him or her that you are the

best person for that position. While that might sound obvious, it can

be tricky, particularly if you have been highly paid in your previous

positions. He suggests that one way to increase a salary offer is to

make the job bigger.

As an example, he mentions a client he recently worked with whose

previous position had been as both vice president of purchasing and

facilities manager. "He was having trouble finding a position that

paid the same amount of money that he had been making before," says

Borland. While discussing a position in purchasing with a company, he

also learned that the facilities manager would be retiring within a

few months. He suggested that during the interim, he could train with

the current facilities manager. His final written offer included a

clause that within six months he would be made a senior vice president

and would take over the facilities management position also.

The deal was made because the man asked questions of the potential

employer and found out all that he could about the company, says

Borland.

Overcome the Competition. "Never assume you are the only person the

potential employer is talking to," says Borland. It’s extremely rare

to be the only candidate for a position. Study the hiring requirements

that have been listed, then decide how your own unique skills can meet

those requirements better than anyone else’s.

Borland mentioned a labor negotiator who was applying for a position

at a large teaching hospital. The other candidates for the position

were all labor lawyers, and the person in charge of the department was

also a lawyer. "He came to the Five O’Clock Club and said, `I haven’t

got a chance. A lawyer is always going to hire another lawyer.’" The

club members suggested that he come up with several reasons why

someone who was not a lawyer should be chosen for the position.

He got the job.

"That’s one of the things that the Five O’Clock Club does. It’s a

chance to brainstorm and meet with other people from a variety of

backgrounds, says Borland.

The club is designed to train its members to manage their careers,

while always looking ahead to their next job search. Research shows

that an average worker spends only four years in a job, and will hold

12 jobs in as many as five career fields over his or her lifetime.

Get the Offer. A verbal offer does not count, it must be in writing,

and include all the details, cautions Borland. "You might get a phone

call from a potential employer saying, `We have a really exciting job

opportunity we want to offer you,’ but until it is in writing you

can’t count on it."

He mentioned a client who negotiated a job at a major university at

about the time his son was entering law school. Although the

university didn’t usually include free tuition for the law school in

its employee benefits, the man negotiated the tuition in the deal.

When the contract came in the mail, however, the tuition offer wasn’t

listed.

"He was furious. He was sure that he’d been led on," said Borland.

Instead, it turned out to be just an error. "The clerk who sent the

papers just sent that standard contract and didn’t pay attention to

the changes that had been made," he explains.

The moral: If you’ve been promised something verbally don’t "fly off

the handle" if the paperwork isn’t correct, says Borland. Instead,

just go back and make sure that everyone is on the same page. To make

it work, he adds, you must do the research. What is the average pay

for your years of experience? What is the differential for the same

job in different areas of the country?

Negotiate the Salary. Negotiating the money is the final step in

closing the deal, says Borland. Don’t negotiate the money until all

the other benefits or details of the contract have been worked out.

"Maybe you want them to supply you with a laptop or a Blackberry. Get

that in writing first. Then when you have everything to your

satisfaction, you slip in, `There’s just one other small thing that

concerns me. I know the standard pay for this job is higher than the

amount you are offering,’ In almost every case, the company is

prepared to come up with more money."

But what if they are not? That’s when you have to make a decision.

And, of course, it is always best to negotiate from a position of

strength, not one of desperation. Borland recommends that a person

should "always try to have six to 10 things in the works. That way if

one job doesn’t work out you know that you have other opportunities

out there."

It’s also important to know how much the average pay for your job is.

Do the research, he says, the most important part of closing the deal

is to know what you are worth.

-Karen Hodges Miller

Monday, January 21

Choosing the Right Assisted Living Home

`Caveat emptor" (Latin for "let the buyer beware") is an age-old

warning to consumers to be especially vigilant prior to purchasing

goods or services. But those contemplating nursing home care for a

loved one – whether considering not-for-profit or for-profit

facilities – would be best advised to be doubly heedful in taking its

advice.

"There are a lot of tragic errors that occur in nursing homes," says

David Cohen, an attorney with Stark & Stark who specializes in nursing

home negligence and abuse claims. "Of course there are many good

nursing homes out there, but the biggest problem we see in the bad

ones is that management puts profits over people by under-funding the

facilities and preventing the staff from delivering quality care to

people."

Cohen will head a seminar on developments in nursing home and assisted

living litigation, on Monday, January 21, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at

the Double Tree Guest Suites Hotel, 515 Fellowship Road North, Mount

Laurel. Cost: $189. The seminar is primarily intended for lawyers who

handle issues involving nursing homes and assisted living facilities,

as well as facility administrators, and health care professionals. For

more information or to register, visit www.njicle.com.

According to Cohen, who serves as vice chair for the American

Association for Justice’s Nursing Home Litigation Group, putting

profits over people is the cardinal offense from which a variety of

potentially devastating problems emerge. "The job, from an ethical

point of view from anyone operating and owning a nursing home is to

provide quality care," says Cohen. "There is a very detailed set of

regulations, statewide and nationally, that tell nursing home

operators exactly how to do it. If they can’t figure out how to comply

with those regulations from a financial point of view then they

shouldn’t be in the business."

Most frontline nursing home workers – licensed practical nurses and

registered nurses – are trying their best to deliver good care,

according to Cohen. "We recently had a deposition involving an

assisted living facility where a nurse’s aid would come to work and

cry every single day because there wasn’t enough staff to provide good

care for her patients," he says. "She had repeatedly gone to

management and told them that they needed more help but she was told

that it is just not in the budget. That is a classic example of how a

corporate home office can ultimately do damage to a poor old person at

a facility maybe hundreds of miles away."

One of the most frequent injuries that occur to residents of bad

nursing homes is decubitus ulcers (or pressure sores). "In some

nursing homes today people are often left lying in one position for

long periods of time because there is not sufficient staffing in the

facilities for people to reposition them," says Cohen. "When most

people sleep at night they probably roll over 500 times without even

realizing it. But people who are immobile need someone to reposition

them and the standard is at least every two hours."

Malnutrition and dehydration is another major problem commonly found

in bad nursing homes. ""When you have a folks who develop dementia and

are physically frail at the same time, you can’t just put food in

front of them and expect them to eat their whole meal," explains

Cohen. "They need a little help, patience, time and attention. And if

they don’t get it people very often in nursing homes starve to death

while their family members pay $6,000 a month for the privilege of

watching their grandmother die of starvation or dehydration. But it is

the same thing, if you have enough staff and you properly train them

that shouldn’t happen."

Hip injuries are another major problem. New Jersey recently passed a

patient safe handling act that is partly due to the fact that the

second most significant injury in nursing homes is fractured hips.

"I’m sure you’ve seen the statistics that say that when an older

person breaks their hip they generally don’t live too long, says

Cohen. "This often stems from the problem of understaffing because

when a worker is trying to transfer a patient – from the chair to

their room, or a wheelchair back to the bed – and the person is

somewhat larger, what is known as a `two-person assist,’ problems can

occur."

But while the rules may state that two people are needed to move a

patient, sometimes there is simply not enough staff to do this. "If

the nurse has no help because everyone else is busy, he or she

sometimes makes the tragic decision to go it alone. This is a very

common occurrence and what happens is they often drop the person, who

either suffers a lot or suffers and dies," says Cohen.

A common misconception many consumers share is that not-for-profit

nursing homes are thought to be better than those that run on a

for-profit basis. But Cohen says that even those calling themselves

not-for-profit basis often have a corporation lurking in the distance

that controls the purse strings. "There are a lot of very large

corporations that hide behind other shell corporations to avoid

liability and accountability for misconduct," he says. "A lot of these

nursing home facilities will funnel all the money out of the local

facility up to the corporate office. Then the corporate office will

take the legal position that they have nothing to do with the nursing

home."

For attorneys representing victims of nursing home neglect and abuse,

finding out just who is controlling the purse strings is vital. "The

attorney prosecuting a case like this has to figure out who is really

responsible for what happened," says Cohen. "It is a huge mistake when

attorneys believe that only the local facility is responsible."

Cohen offers a case in point. "Recently one of our clients died in a

nursing home who shouldn’t have died," he says. "He died with a huge

hole in his body, a decubitus ulcer. I had a defense attorney telling

me that there was no money to settle the case. This was a publicly

traded company that runs the nursing home, worth a billion dollars or

so. What they are trying to do is distance themselves from what

happened at that facility and my job is to show that they really play

a role in what happens at the local level. When I hear them cry

poverty, the first thing I do is look for the home office."

Cohen was born and raised in Matawan, where his father worked as an

engineer and his mother was a homemaker. After spending one year at

the University of Delaware, he transferred to George Washington

University in Washington, D.C., and graduated in 1986 with a degree in

economics. He then attended Rutgers Camden Law School, graduating in

1989. He is a certified civil trial attorney and has served as faculty

for the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) on

nursing home malpractice in New Jersey. He and his wife have two

children and live in Montgomery Township.

Cohen says that he is often asked why state and federal authorities

aren’t able to do more to combat substandard nursing homes. Cohen says

they try. "There just aren’t enough of them. I know that from the

amount of work it takes for me to handle a single case. I can’t

imagine a state worker having the time to review in enough detail all

the allegations involved in a single complaint."

And even when complaints are investigated, it is a sad fact that these

investigations are often cursory. "When a family member files a

complaint with state authorities it has often been my experience that

the state primarily only asks the nursing home personnel what

happened," says Cohen. "It is very rare, if ever, that I see them

conduct a detailed interview. Family members are tremendously

frustrated over that. Once they really start their investigation they

only get one side of the story. They will very often find that there

is a problem but it is usually only when the nursing home hasn’t done

a good enough job covering up its tracks. Its really kind of like

someone walking into the hen house and asking the fox what is going on

here and not asking the chickens."

While the challenge of finding adequate nursing home care can be eye

opening, Cohen assures people that there are many good nursing homes

and assisted living facilities available. He offers the following

advice:

Use the Internet for research. Because of the very detailed level of

the regulatory scheme of the state and federal level, the Internet is

a good source of information for someone who is trying to find a

nursing home for a loved one. Cohen cautions that it is not perfect.

"When you go online to check New Jersey’s website or Medicare’s

website looking for health rates for nursing homes, you may get 15 or

20 pages worth of information about a facility," he says. "But when I

do a public records request on a facility, I generally get 250 or 300

pages or more. So what you get on the Internet is a bit of a snapshot

and it is not always a representative example of what has truly been

going on in a facility." Cohen himself provides information for a blog

at www.nursinghomelawblog.com.

Check staffing licenses. If a nursing home doesn’t have a

well-trained, or adequately sized staff, residents are extremely

vulnerable. While frontline workers have a tough job, the law states

that they must be licensed. Cohen recommends that consumers check this

out. "Many nursing homes that I have cases against call their workers

certified nurse’s aids but we later find that they weren’t certified

before working there," he says. "There are some awful homes in the

Trenton area that recently got cited by the state because a huge

percentage of their nurses aids were not certified."

See past glitzy marketing. People are generally given the advice to

visit nursing homes that they are considering and talk to staff

members. But Cohen warns that this is not enough. "Some of the worst

facilities these days are some of the cleanest facilities," he says.

"And the reason for that is good marketing. They have beautiful

lobbies and friendly and attentive personnel working at the front

desk. Some of the very worst facilities in New Jersey have wonderful

websites. I think the key is to cull information from every source

that you can. Visit a facility and talk to family members."

Act quickly. If you run into problems and are seeking legal solutions,

act quickly. ""People should know that these cases are time

sensitive," says Cohen. "If it’s a county or city owned facility there

are very stringent time restraints when you have to file a claim.

People should know that they can’t sit on these issues too long or

they might lose their rights without realizing it."

Cohen does point to some good news on the nursing home front.

"Recently Medicare revamped their interpretation of the regulations

under which medical directors have to operate," he says. "The general

perception in the legal and medical community is that the new

interpretation has heightened the responsibilities of medical

directors to play a greater role in overseeing the quality of care in

nursing homes. I think, on a general level across the country, there

is real satisfaction with this change. Up to now many of these

facilities are running without enough direction from a medical point

of view. The more attention that these quality physicians can pay

toward the nursing homes the better the residents of the nursing home

will be."

– Jack Florek

Going Back to School Program for Adults

Going back to school might be easy for the kids, but for adults, the

prospect can be intimidating. Especially if it’s been a while.

The Encore Learning Institute at Middlesex County Community College

offers numerous workshops that serve as a refresher for those who are

interested in coming to college following a gap in their education.

A free seminar giving details about the program and an overview of the

college will be held at Middlesex on Monday, January 28, at 6:30 p.m.

Register in advance by calling 732-906-2556.

Lynn Lederer, director of professional and community programs, says

Encore workshops are designed to help adults brush up on skills they

haven’t used in years, and to give students the chance to meet and

form informal support and study groups.

The workshops include:

Cool Tools for Adult Learners, which includes tips for smart-reading,

writing papers and research in the library and Internet. It will be

Tuesday, February 5, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Cost: $15.

Pre-Algebra/ Arithmetic/Computation, which covers whole numbers,

integers, fractions, mixed numbers and improper fractions, decimals,

ratio and proportion, comparisons, simple algebra and basic geometry.

It will be Tuesdays and Thursdays, February 12-28, from 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Cost: $75.

Elementary Algebra, which covers perimeters and areas, rational

numbers and their operations, reducing fractions, scientific notation,

formulas, linear equations, linear equations with two variables,

exponents, polynomials, special products, factoring, rational

expressions, radicals, and quadratic equations. It will be Tuesdays

and Thursdays, March 4-20, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Cost: $75.

Intermediate Algebra, which covers algebraic operations, solutions of

equations and inequalities, coordinate geometry, applications, other

algebra topics and functions and trigonometry. It will be Tuesdays and

Thursdays, April 1-17, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Cost: $75.

Sentence Skills, which includes sentence construction, structure and

word choice. It will be Tuesday, April 22, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Cost:

$15.

The Essay, which includes focus, organization, development and

support, sentence structure and effectiveness, mechanical conventions,

outlining, thesis statement, introduction, body and conclusion. It

will be Thursday, April 24, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Cost: $15.

Reading Comprehension, which includes tips on reading and

understanding passages and increasing reading speed. It will be

Tuesday, April 29, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Cost: $15.

State Increases Financing Levels

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority has increased maximum

financing levels available under its Preferred Lender Program.

The new limits are $1.25 million for loan participations and $1.5

million for loan guarantees on fixed asset loans for buildings and

equipment. The EDA has also set $750,000 as the new limit for loan

participations and $1.5 million as the limit for loan guarantees on

working capital loans to cover operating expenses.

The authority reviews applications and renders a decision within three

business days, and provides a written term sheet within two business

days of approval. Closing may occur within three business days. The

authority provides a portion of a participating bank’s financing or

guarantees part of the bank loan.

Eight financial institutions participate in the program: The Bank,

Bank of America, Commerce Bank, New Jersey Community Capital, North

Fork Bank, PNC Bank, Sovereign Bank, and Sun National Bank. The

program is also expanding to include more community banks.

"Community banks generally focus on small and mid-size businesses,

which make up a significant segment of the EDA’s core market," said

Kathleen Stucy, EDA’s senior vice president of operations. "By

partnering with community banks, we should be able to help more

smaller companies obtain affordable financing to support their

growth."

Under the Preferred Lender Program, EDA participation and guarantee

amounts can be up to 50 percent of the bank’s financing. Maximum total

EDA participation and guarantee assistance is $2.75 million for fixed

asset loans and $2.25 million for working capital loans. EDA

participation and guarantee terms may be up to 10 years for fixed

asset loans and up to five years for working capital loans.

Borrowers of low-interest EDA funding under the Preferred Lender

Program have the option of choosing a fixed rate indexed to the

five-year Treasury rate or a variable rate indexed to the Prime Rate.

Businesses must be New Jersey-based, in operation for at least two

years, and commit to creating at least one new job per $50,000 in EDA

exposure. Manufacturers need only to maintain one job per $50,000 of

EDA exposure.

To learn more about the Preferred Lender program or other products and

services of the EDA, contact EDA Customer Care at

CustomerCare@njeda.com or 609-777-4898.

Carpooling Rewards

Middlesex County-based carpoolers could still be eligible for gas card

rewards from the county Transportation Management Association.

The county, through the nonprofit Keep Middlesex Moving, Inc, sponsors

Carpooling Makes $ense, an incentive program that awards $100 gas

cards to commuters who form and maintain carpools. Since the program

was introduced in May, 2006, more than 100 carpools have qualified for

the program. To qualify for the gas card, carpoolers must carpool at

least 24 times over a two-month period. They must also register with

Keep Middlesex Moving and record their commute mode weekly.

Funding is provided by the Federal Highway Administration and the New

Jersey Department of Transportation.

Registration and weekly recording can be done online at www.kmm.org.

Gas cards will be awarded to qualified carpools at the end of the

two-month period. For more information, contact Cristina C. Fowler at

732-745-4318.

Top Of PageStudy Finds Empathy Key to Leadership

A six-year study completed by consulting firm BlessingWhite has found

that effective business leadership takes more than just a head for

business.

The study of 1,405 leaders in 47 organizations, released in late

December, finds that while senior executives are generally rated

highest in business aptitude, responsibility, clarity, and self

confidence, it was high scores in empathy and trustworthiness that

best predicted leadership effectiveness. And while these last two

qualities ranked first and second as predictors of good leadership,

they ranked fifth and sixth in a field of eight as qualities at which

executives excel.

Self confidence ranked last as a predictor of effective leadership.

The six-year study analyzed feedback from nearly 8,000 colleagues.

Respondents were asked to rate the individuals in 54 areas, which were

combined into eight categories spanning both business and personal

characteristics.

"It’s revealing that although leaders advance within the organization

by mastering the core business skills," says BlessingWhite CEO

Christopher Rice, "once they’re on top they don’t necessarily

demonstrate the personal characteristics that are needed to connect

with colleagues and employees or build loyal relationships."

Rice says empathy in leaders is likely to become most important in

times of turmoil. "An effective leader has to be able to understand

others’ feelings and needs, and to generate trust," he says. He

suggests ways executives can enhance their empathetic sides.

Earn the right to be heard and build trust. Leaders tend to be good at

highlighting their credentials and rationale. But trust is built by

showing the human side, not just accomplishments. Leaders also need to

show gratitude, share their personal motivation, and acknowledge their

employees’ situations. They need to share their personal worries – not

through spin or transparent communications tricks, but through

authenticity.

Take action first. Leaders need to go first. When they commit to

making a change that is challenging for them, they show that they have

skin in the game, that they are not asking employees to do something

that they themselves would not do. Taking action first goes a long way

to building trust and demonstrating empathy.

Focus on invested listening and invested responses. A lot of leaders

hold town hall meetings saying they want to hear what employees’

issues are. Too often they barely wait until a question is done before

they’re defending their point of view. This type of situation shuts

down candor and damages trust.

When listening, leaders need to pay attention to not only what people

are saying but how they say it. They need to listen extra hard for the

speaker’s intent and commonality with them, their feelings, their

unstated concern, as well as where they’re coming from.

When responding, leaders need to make sure they then acknowledge

common goals and the speaker’s intent, acknowledge feelings and

concerns, and demonstrate an understanding that different points of

view may arise from different context.

Corporate Angels

The Credit Union of New Jersey has started accepting donations at its

five branches on behalf of the Ewing Public Education Fund.

Citing the importance of financial education in schools, Credit Union

CEO Andrew Jaeger said raising money for the EPEF (www.epef.org) can

improve the understanding of finances among the township’s students.

Wayne Staub, president of the EPEF, said the partnership with the

Credit Union is "an excellent example of how two different

organizations can work together" for the common good.

No specific programs have yet been announced in the school district.

The Lewis School of Princeton donated nearly 200 coats to the 12th

annual Jersey Cares Coat Drive, sponsored by NJCares Network, in

December. The school’s part in the drive was initiated by two

students, John Kelly of Princeton and Peter Alaimo of Hillsborough.

The school began collecting coats in November. The coats eventually

were delivered to the Community Foodbank of NJ in Hillside.

In its ongoing support of educational enhancement for students who may

be at risk, Yardville National Bank has donated $10,000 to fund the

supplemental education program of the Boys & Girls Club of Trenton and

Mercer County. The club’s afterschool program helps potentially

at-risk students achieve their full potential by providing enrichment

activities, including technology skills, mentoring, and the Club’s

"Smart Moves" intervention program.

In recognition of its ongoing efforts to combat homelessness in

central New Jersey, Tyco International has been selected by the

Community Foundation of New Jersey as a "2005 corporate patron of

social welfare." As part of the honor, Tyco also received $5,000 in

grants from the Community Foundation for the benefit of the nonprofit

group of Tyco’s choice.

Staff from all levels at the Mercadien Groupcontributed time, energy

and financial resources to help make less fortunate children’s

Christmas celebration a little brighter. by continuing the tradition

of being an official Toys for Tots drop off site.

This is the seventh year that the Mercadien Group employees

participated in and assisted in this campaign.

To assist women in the early detection of breast cancer, Princeton

Consultants and St. Peters Hospital in New Brunswick have joined

forces to benefit the Amy Feiman Behar Foundation for Early Detection

of Cancer.

Princeton Consultants formed the foundation in 2007 after the death of

Behar, who served as office manager for more than 11 years. Its

purpose is to provide free mammograms to women with no insurance and

spread the word about the importance of self-examination and early

detection.

The partnership with St. Peters allows the hospital to provide much of

the funds needed to cover mammograms. The foundation itself buys

blocks of mammograms from the hospital for women without insurance.

Monroe Chiropractic Care’s "Baby, It’s Cold Outside" coat drive netted

3,165 coats for families around the state. The total more than triples

the office’s 2006 campaign, which collected 1,100 coats on behalf of

Jersey Cares.

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