Making Sense of the New Overtime Rules

Communication Between the Sexes

IDing Top Talent

Getting Heard In a Noisy World

Mating Management 101

Corrections or additions?

These articles were prepared for the September 8, 2004

issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Survival Guide

Top Of Page
Making Sense of the New Overtime Rules

Which of your employees are eligible for overtime pay and which are

exempt? Are you sure you know the difference? New federal regulations

regarding overtime for white collar employees went into effect on

August 23 in one of the biggest overhauls of the system ever.

The United States Department of Labor issued the new regulations,

which affect many employers and employees throughout the state of New

Jersey. The issue of overtime has always been complex, and remains so

under the new regulations. Arlene Turinchak, an attorney with the

Somerset law firm of McGimpsey and Cafferty, clears up some of the

confusion when she speaks on "Navigating the New Overtime Regulations"

on Thursday, September 9, at 9 a.m. at the New Jersey Press

Association at 840 Bear Tavern Road in West Trenton. Cost: $75. To

register, call 609-406-0600.

The seminar focuses on how the changes impact the newspaper industry

in particular, says Turinchak; however, the basic regulations are the

same for almost every business and industry. During the seminar she

discuss not only what employers need to do to comply with the new

regulations, but also potential problems and penalties for failure to


The new rules revise existing definitions and in some instances

establish entirely new standards for determining who is entitled to

overtime compensation, explains Turinchak. They redefine "which types

of white collar employees are qualified for exemption and which must

be paid overtime," she says. This is, in fact, the first major

revision of the white collar provisions of the Fair Labor Standards

Act in the last 50 years. On its website,, the

Department of Labor states the new regulations "strengthen overtime

rights for more American workers than ever before," and clear up

"confusion for workers and employers."

Turinchak has worked for 15 years with the law firm of McGimpsey and

Cafferty, which specializes in working with newspapers. A graduate of

Fordham University, she is assistant general counsel to the New Jersey

Press Association. Her work with the press association has included

not only advice on the latest changes in laws such as the overtime

regulations, but also defense against libel and advocating on behalf

of newspapers for access to court and government records.

The new Department of Labor regulations have increased the minimum

wage at which employees are guaranteed overtime pay. Under the old

regulations, employees making $250 per week or less were guaranteed

time and a half for hours over 40 per week. The new regulations

increase the minimum to $23,660 per year, or $455 per week. "In

general, employees making over $100,000 are exempt from being paid

overtime," says Turinchak, "but in between there is a wide gray area

with lots of rules and exemptions."

The regulations break exempt employees into four separate categories.

If an employee’s duties fall into the categories listed, the employer

is not required to pay overtime. The categories are:

Executive. A worker in this category "manages two or more employees,"

Turinchak says. "Their primary duty is to manage people and they have

the ability to hire and fire other employees or can recommend that

other employees be hired or fired."

Administrative. An exempt administrative employee is "someone who

helps in the management of a business." A typical example, she says,

might be an accountant or a human resources manager. The Department of

Labor states that the duties of an exempt administrative employee

"includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with

respect to matters of significance."

Professional. The Department of Labor describes these employees as

"learned professionals whose primary work requires advanced

knowledge," Turinchak says. Types of workers who fall into this

category include a variety of professions from teachers to lawyers to

scientists and social service workers. "Creative professionals," such

as graphic designers, writers, musicians, actors, and photographers

are also specifically mentioned by the regulations, she says, and are

generally exempt from overtime pay.

The regulations vary, however, for some specific jobs in this

category. A newspaper staff writer or reporter "who is required to

cover events such as court or fires must be paid overtime," she

explains, "but a columnist who is being paid to write editorial or

opinion pieces falls under the exempt ‘creative professional’ category

and does not get paid overtime."

Outside Sales. A sales person whose primary duties are "customarily

and regularly engaged away from the employer’s place or places of

business" is exempt from overtime pay. Insurance adjusters are one

group specifically mentioned as exempt in this category, Turinchak


The best way for an employer to make sure that he or she is in

compliance with the new regulations, she say, is to "look at the

duties of every job. The Department of Labor has said that employers

will not be bound by a job’s title, but by what the employee actually


"The Department of Labor recognizes that in the modern workforce

managers do have non-exempt duties," Turinchak says. Some of the

guidelines arose from a suit filed against a fast food restaurant.

"The Department of Labor recognizes that in a position like this a

manager may do work such as stocking shelves or serving customers, she

says." But the worker is still exempt from overtime if, as a manager,

he or she has made the decision to do that work themselves.

"A manager may decide, ‘I have to make the French fries to get the job

accomplished.’ A worker is told to make the French fries," Turinchak

gives as an example. "In a case such as this," she says, "the worker

gets paid overtime while the manager does not." If an employee feels

that he should be paid overtime under the new regulations, what should

he do? Turinchak recommends checking first with the Department of

Labor website. If after talking to the employer the worker still feels

he has not been treated fairly, he can contact the labor department.

The Department of Labor does offer "safe harbor" to employers who have

a dispute about overtime regulations. "As long as the employer has a

policy in place so that the employee can make an inquiry, the

Department of Labor will probably look favorably at the employer,"

Turinchak says.

What should employers do to make sure that they are in compliance with

the new regulations? One of the best ways, says Turinchak, is to get

in touch with the Department of Labor, by calling or checking out its

website. The site offers a lot of information on the new regulations,

including descriptions of each exempt category and online training for

employers and human relations personnel. "It is a useful tool for both

employers and employees," she adds.

Second, employers should take a look at what their employees are

doing. What are their duties? If in doubt, Turinchak recommends that

bosses "err on the side of caution and go ahead and pay the overtime."

Finally, Turinchak says that most New Jersey employers are already in

good shape when it comes to the new regulations. "The Department of

Labor says that if a state’s regulations are more stringent than the

federal rules, an employer must follow the rules of the state. If

someone is already in compliance with the New Jersey regulations, the

new rules should not have a big impact on their business."

– Karen Miller

Top Of Page
Communication Between the Sexes

There is a classic Far Side cartoon of a man talking to his dog with

the headline: "What we say to dogs." In the bubble above the man’s

head: "Okay Ginger! I’ve had it! You stay out of the garbage!

Understand Ginger? Stay out of the garbage or else!"

In the second frame we see the same picture of man and dog with the

headline: "What they hear." What the pooch hears is "blah blah blah

GINGER, blah blah blah blah GINGER, blah blah blah."

Now, unless you’ve been living on Pluto, you’ve heard the Mars/Venus

theories about men and women. But whether you subscribe to author John

Grey’s theory about our planetary origins and propensities or not, you

have surely found yourself in a "blah, blah, blah Ginger" moment when

talking with someone of the opposite sex.

These situations are common, says actor and communications expert

Judith Robinson. At home "differences in communication styles can lead

to frustration, misunderstanding, and disharmony" and in business,

those same differences can also lead to a lost client, project, or


Robinson offers an experiential workshop,"Retooling Female/Male

Communications; Expanding your Choices," for the New Jersey

Association of Women Business Owners (NJAWBO) on Thursday, September

9, at 6 p.m. at Merrill Lynch on Scudders Mill Road. The workshop

helps women understand some of the essential differences between the

sexes, and learn strategies to create more effective dialogues with

the men in their lives – at work and at home. She also be offers a

more in-depth class for men and women in Plainsboro beginning on

Tuesday, September 21. For more information on the NJAWBO program,

call 609-924-7975; for information on the private class, call


Robinson was raised in Manhattan and got an early start in the

theater. Her father was a playwright and television producer, and her

mother was a homemaker. She graduated from Professional Children’s

School and began getting work as an actor early. "It was all around

me; I was exposed to it so much and I had a very easy career," she

says. She furthered her studies at the prestigious Neighborhood

Playhouse, the Actor’s Studio, and also with Lee Strasberg. In 1957

Robinson originated the role of Reenie Flood in William Inge’s Tony

Award winning play, "Dark at the Top of the Stairs," directed by Elia

Kazan. (Tuesday Weld was her understudy, and Shirley Knight got the

part when the play moved to the big screen.) Robinson toured in plays

with Sammy Davis Jr. and Charlton Heston, and played Robin Lang

Fletcher on "The Guiding Light" for two years.

Guest-starting roles on television and in off-Broadway shows were

plentiful, as were commercials. But after a while, Robinson decided to

take a break. "I was very ‘one directed’ and I wanted to explore other

parts of myself," she says. "I had an urge to branch out."

She moved to Europe for a while and when she came back to the states,

she met her (then) husband. "He was in New York at the time, but we

were both ready to leave the city and he got a job in Princeton," she

recounts. Robinson lived in town for 18 years.

While in Princeton, Robinson taught acting classes at the Arts Council

and began offering workshops that used acting techniques to improve

communications to area corporations, including Merck and Johnson &

Johnson. What she discovered was that "acting exercises give people a

chance to experiment and explore new ways of behaving and

communicating in a safe and comfortable space."

"Women have been socialized to work in a cooperative way and men have

been socialized and pressured to be competitive," she says. "Men are

more likely to make pronouncements than to work in an inclusive way.

This doesn’t mean that women can’t be competitive and that men can’t

be inclusive. Men can learn to listen more receptively and work more

cooperatively. There can be a shared power that doesn’t take away

their authority. Working cooperatively isn’t the same as giving in,

and I think that’s something that men are afraid of."

Women, on the other hand, often need to learn to be assertive and

direct. Robinson tells the story of a woman in one of her workshops.

The woman "had great difficulty dealing with authority figures."

Getting along with her male bosses was a problem. She, as many women

do, used qualifying words that downgraded what she was expressing,

smiled excessively during conversations, spoke in a high-pitched light

voice, and nodded her head constantly to reassure the other person.

These habits, Robinson says, interfere with direct, clear, and

effective communication. Through a series of improvisational

situations and supportive feedback, the woman in Robinson’s workshop

"was able to explore and express a range of new behaviors. She then

was able to choose how she wanted to act in specific situations."

Men and women need to pay attention to the ways the other gender gives

and receives information, often need to adjust the ways they deliver

their messages accordingly in order to understand and be understood.

Some places men might look to create more effective communication:

Be flexible. Don’t have winning as your ultimate goal. "If you work in

a way that nurtures everyone’s creative contribution, you end up with

a much stronger result," says Robinson.

Be inclusive. "Cultivate a sense of empathy and acknowledgement that

creates a greater impetus to participate," she says. Repeat what you

think you heard and be sure you get agreement before you plow on to

the next topic.

Watch your body. "Body language is very important to communication,"

says Robinson. "Do you signal a hierarchical status or one of

inclusion with your physical presence?"

Some places women might look to create effective communication:

Watch your mouth. "Be aware of the kind of language you use." Is it

self-deprecating or tentative? Do you qualify your suggestions and

ideas with phrases that weaken the delivery?

Be direct. Cultivate a direct and clear approach that expresses your

ideas and needs.

Stand tall. Again, Robinson says, body language matters. "Do you often

tilt your head to one side, have a tense or slumping posture, nod your

head in constant encouragement, or use other physical habits that put

you at a disadvantage in that they interfere with the impact of your


With a little observation and practice, Robinson says, you can improve

the impact of your message at home and at work. With Ginger? You’re on

your own.

– Deb Cooperman

Top Of Page
IDing Top Talent

Diana Kramer wants to make one thing perfectly clear: "Competencies"

has a very special meaning in the human resources industry and it’s a

bit more complex than just being capable.

"Competencies specifically identify the behaviors, knowledge, and

skills that differentiate exceptional performance," explains Kramer,

the president of Kramer Consulting Solutions in Bernardsville.

Kramer, who earned her Ph.D. in psychology from Fordham University,

shares her expertise at a dinner meeting sponsored by the Human

Resources Management Association of New Jersey on Monday, September

13, at 5:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Princeton. Her co-presenter is

Anthony Archer, director of human resources for Veridex, a Johnson and

Johnson Company. The pair address "Identifying Top Talent

Competencies: Case Studies at Johnson and Johnson." Cost: $40. Call


"Competencies in the context of human resources really boils down to

what differentiates the best from the rest," says Kramer, who has

worked with the pharmaceutical, financial, computer, and aerospace

industries. The goal of identifying competencies is to develop

leaders, select top performers, plan careers, identify future talent,

and evaluate performance.

"Our work typically begins with a look at best practices within the

industry, then continues with extensive interviews with senior leaders

to determine a strategic direction," says Kramer. "We utilize focus

groups and interviews with top performers in the company, always

seeking clues about the exceptional."

The entire process doesn’t take hours or days, but more typically

several months, according to this expert, who uses the results of

competencies studies to help companies target specific areas of

strength, identify the best candidates to fill new positions, and even

to design succession planning.

The Hyatt event focuses on the case history of Ortho Clinical

Diagnostics, a J&J company, where competencies models were created for

positions in sales, marketing, operations, R&D, contracting and


"While competencies may have a specific meaning in the human relations

field," says Kramer, "the concept affects the workplace across the

board. The goal is always to create excellence, to look at the future

strategically, and to have objective measures and models for success."

– Sally Friedman

Top Of Page
Getting Heard In a Noisy World

‘Advertising should rocket sales," says Linda Kaplan Thaler. "To do

that in today’s noisy world you have to create an explosion, a Big

Bang, to get noticed." Kaplan Thaler is CEO and chief creative officer

of the Kaplan Thaler Group, a Manhattan agency that has been ranked

the fastest growing advertising agency in the country by Advertising

Age Magazine.

"Consumers are so inundated with advertising and products that only a

disruptive idea will penetrate their consciousness. Since it’s

unlikely that most of us will ever be promoting a truly revolutionary

product that commands attention all by itself, it’s all the more

essential that the message be revolutionary," says Kaplan Thaler. She

is the guest speaker at the NJ Communications, Advertising and

Marketing Association’s (NJ CAMA) luncheon, at 11:30 a.m., on Tuesday,

September 14, at the Doral Forrestal Hotel in Princeton. Cost: $40. To

register call 609-799-4900.

"BANG! Getting Your Message Heard in a Noisy World" is the title of

Kaplan Thaler’s new book, which she co-authored with her partner,

Robin Koval. The book is published by Doubleday. Her theory of

advertising is to "figure out what you can do to create a Big Bang."

Kaplan Thaler and her partner have created exactly those types of ads

for their clients, which include AFLAC Insurance, Herbal Essences

shampoo, Continental Airlines, and Swiffer. They are the creators of

the AFLAC duck and Herbal Essences shampoo’s "Yes, Yes, Yes" shower

experience ads. Prior to starting the Kaplan Thaler Group, she was

executive vice president and executive creative director at Wells Rich

Greene BDDP. She spent 17 years with J. Walter Thompson, where she was

senior vice president and group creative director, handling major

accounts such as Burger King, Kodak, Northwest Airlines, Pepsi, and

Clairol. Thaler Kaplan has authored and composed advertising jingles

that have become a part of American pop culture, including "I Don’t

Wanna Grow Up, I’m a Toys ‘R Us Kid" for Toys ‘R Us, the "Kodak

Moments" campaign for Eastman Kodak, and "The Heart of Communication"

for Bell Atlantic. She was also a member of the Clinton/Gore 1992

advertising team.

A native New Yorker, Kaplan Thaler is a graduate of CCNY, where she

received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in

music. Her interests in music have led her to write and compose a

number of theatrical and television projects, including co-creating

the theme song for the Emmy-nominated ABC children’s television

special, "Room to Grow." She has also acted in several off-off

Broadway shows and performed in a comedy troupe in the mid-1970s.

In her book, Kaplan Thaler gives a number of suggestions for ways to

create market recognition through adverting.

Lose the rules. This is her first rule of thumb. "Stop looking at what

you did before," she says. "To be heard, advertising should be

disruptive, intrusive, polarizing, and extremely simple. People are

just not willing to spend a lot of time listening to your message." In

fact, she says, "sticking to a good formula may work in some

industries, but in marketing, it’s the fast lane to failure. If a

campaign doesn’t change, it becomes like an oil painting on the living

room wall: No one even sees it anymore."

Shrink to success. This Kaplan Thaler’s second rule. "Shrink the

deadlines. We all think more clearly and are more focused when we have

an impending deadline. In the intense pressure of the moment, you

really focus and suddenly you a million ideas," she says. "The bottom

line is this: Time doesn’t help."

Create chaos. "Stop being a linear thinker. Use free association, use

disparate ideas, " she says. "Take ideas from unlikely sources. We are

much more creative when we know that everything is up for grabs, no

avenue is off-limits, and everything is a possibility."

Stop thinking. "Use your gut rather than rational thought. Formal

processes often ignore the things that lead to great insights," she

says. In fact, in her opinion, feminine intuition is her firm’s secret

weapon. "We’re a firm run by women. Perhaps because of that, we aren’t

afraid to make big decisions by following our gut," she declares. "Of

course, facts, research, and left-brain thinking are crucial to the

development of a Big Bang. The difference is that we put intuition


Don’t chase the trends. How important is it to be totally au courant?

"Being hip in marketing is often the kiss of death," says Thaler

Kaplan. "Trends come and go. That means they can become outdated in a

nanosecond. And being cool is frankly alienating: Everyone who feels

they aren’t in the know will turn their back on your message. As a

result, a trendy ad limits the number of people it will connect with."

Go for emotion. Connect with the consumer, through old-fashioned

emotions, says Thaler Kaplan. "Emotions don’t change with the seasons.

Chances are good that if an idea makes you laugh, it’ll make others

laugh," she says. "If it makes me cry, it’ll make you cry too."

Sweat the small stuff. "Most senior executives like to parade as

big-picture folks, flaunting the notion that strategy requires their

genius and that execution is just about getting things done," she

says. "It’s only when everyone in the company is sweating the small

stuff that your Big Bang idea doesn’t get lost in the details."

Assume the worst. "Fear spurs creativity," she says. "It is the only

force strong enough to encourage people to take risks. Fear is the

primary weapon against roadblocks of all kinds."

"Just like the Big Bang that created the universe, your ads should

create a new universe for your clients. You should try to develop

highly intrusive, highly focused communications and ideas that explode

onto the marketplace."

– Karen Miller

Top Of Page
Mating Management 101

If you were launching a new business, you would be ill advised to

present yourself to the market without having a specific plan. So why

would you go out into dating market without one?

According to dating consultant Lenora Knapp, that’s what most people

do, and it’s why so many people are frustrated with the dating game.

In her five-session continuing education course, "A Practical Guide to

Finding a Relationship," first session Tuesday, September 14, at 7p.m.

at Mercer County Community College, she advises participants on

applying tried and true business principles to the business of finding

a partner. Cost: $90. Call 609-586-9448.

A graduate of Princeton High School, Knapp started college at the

University of Pennsylvania as an international relations major. She

had a work-study job in the psychology department, and one of the

professors in the department encouraged her to switch majors to

psychology. Knapp did so, and went on to receive a Ph.D. in clinical

psychology from the University of Alabama. After completing her Ph.D.

Knapp worked in management consulting, crafting corporate

communication strategies, and later became an independent consultant

for a work/life balance company in Rhode Island.

Beginning in 1989, she also worked part-time for her mother, Joan

Knapp, founder of Knapp Associates International, a consulting firm

that specializes in developing professional certification programs. In

1995 she came on board Knapp Associates International full-time, and

now serves as president of the company.

The move to dating consulting came pretty naturally for Knapp.

"I would notice men and women – particularly women 35 and over –

successful people, myself included, who were single, unattached,

without social structures in place to meet other single people.

Especially in suburbia, where the way most people meet is through


College, she says, is a great place to meet people. "Where else are

you going to find so many single people with similar interests around

your age?" she asks. "But once we leave college, the social structures

that help us find a mate are not as strong." People get caught up in

establishing themselves in their professional lives, and "you think

you have your whole life ahead of you." When we reach the age that we

start really thinking about settling down, Knapp says the question

becomes: "How do we find somebody when we spend so much time at work

and we don’t carve out leisure time?"

Looking for an answer, Knapp started working with friends, applying

the principles she had learned in business to support her friends in

finding romance. "I started to see that the strategies that we use

with the business planning process – market analysis, mission

planning, action plans, research – could apply to finding a mate," she

says. "I noticed that single people try online dating or speed-dating

for a while and then they quit for a while," she says. The reason?

They don’t know what they’re going for and they don’t know how to work

the market.

Just as in a business start-up, you can advertise and go to networking

meetings, but if you don’t know your company’s mission and its goals,

then all the ads and contacts in the world won’t land the business.

Same goes for dating, says Knapp. If you want to succeed in the dating

business, you need to make it a business.

Know your mission. You can’t get what you want if you don’t know what

you want, says Knapp. Do you want to date casually? Are you looking to

get married? Do you want to be married and have children too? Your

strategy will be based on what you want.

Do a SWOT analysis. Before a company goes to market, it looks at its

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (or

challenges/liabilities). For example, Knapp suggests: "Strengths might

be ‘I’m attractive; I have a lot of interests; I’m intelligent.’

Weaknesses might be I’m introverted; I have difficulty making small

talk; I don’t have a lot of time.’" Under opportunities, she says,

"You might have a job where you come into contact with a lot of

interesting people. Obstacles could be that you live in a suburban

area surrounded by young families."

Once you know these, Knapp says, you can start to build your Strategic

Mating Management Plan. Your plan isn’t going to just be about how to

meet people. It’s also about strengthening yourself. "What do you need

to do to get yourself into ‘shape’ for dating?" Knapp asks.

Power up. Start with a step by step action plan to strengthen some of

your weaknesses and manage the liabilities. "If I’m an introvert, what

are some things that I might be able to do to gain confidence around

making small talk?" she posits. Suggestions include joining a club

like Toastmasters, which teaches the art. If the issue is a lack of

time, it might be necessary to schedule in blocks of time for getting

date ready. "Maybe you’ll want to set aside two hours a week to work

on a personal ad or to research the different options to meet people

available now," she suggests.

Be aware of all the dating venues. There are many options, but not

everyone is familiar with them, says Knapp. In her class she sets

aside time to discuss many of the methods available.

"People may have been out of the dating scene for 20 years, so they

need to know the nuts and bolts of how these new things work," she

says. Once you’re aware of all the options out there, you should rate

them for yourself. Target your resources and efforts to the methods

that will be most effective for you. Someone may say: "I met my

partner through this site or that event, and it might work for them,

but it might not be right for you."

If you’re an extrovert, you might like the speed dating option,

because it’s quick and you get to meet a lot of people in a short

period of time. In speed dating each participant is given a card

listing the names of all of his or her dates, and is asked to check

off good dating candidates after a "date" that lasts anywhere from

three to ten minutes. To increase your yield, Knapp urges, check every

name. "You’ll be matched with people whose name you’ve checked and who

have checked yours too," she points out. "So unless the other person

completely repelled you, check them all!" she says. That way, you’ll

get the opportunity for a few more minutes to see if your first

impression was on the money or not!

Then again, for the introvert, Knapp says, being forced to make an

impression in six minutes might not work. A singles golf event or a

hike, where there is already common ground with the other people,

might be better.

It’s a good idea to use several different approaches, says Knapp.

Set deadlines and rewards. "Somebody might say: within one month I

will have gone to one ‘Dinner at 8’ event and will have written and

posted a personal ad."Stick to it, Knapp says, and reward yourself

when you do it.

Consider your marketing strategy. How you appear, how you describe

yourself, what you choose to say, says Knapp, depends on what your

mating mission is. If you’re looking for casual dating "you may be

more flirtatious," she says. If you’re looking for a life partner, you

might not want to do that right away.

"We know a lot from the world of psychology about what makes a

negative or positive impression. Even if you say something innocuously

negative like ‘it was a bear to get here, the traffic on Route 1 is

such a pain,’ the other person may assume you’ll always be focusing on

the negative."

Weigh your bottom line. Consider your "want to haves" and "need to

haves." Know what you want in a partner. "Know that it’s not just the

fairy tale ‘tall, dark and handsome’ stuff," Knapp says. Look for the

qualities you want in a partner. "If you’re a casual dater," she says,

"you should have fewer ‘need to haves.’"

Knapp’s last "Practical Guide to Finding a Relationship" class at MCCC

was so successful that the participants had a summer reunion and are

planning one for the fall. And Knapp is working on creating a Single

Woman’s Society for the single woman who is content with being single

and a Dating Divas group for women who are using Knapp’s Mating

Management plan to meet their life partner.

And although her work as a dating consultant is still not Knapp’s

primary business, "Maybe it will be someday," she says. "There are so

many single people out there!"

– Deb Cooperman

Next Story

Corrections or additions?

This page is published by

— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.

Facebook Comments