Hurricane Losses and the Tax Code

I just read the tax laws for taking a deduction for expenses from hurricane damage.  Here is a link if you are interested.

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/top-10-tips-for-deducting-losses-from-a-disaster

A couple of comments: (1) you just can’t simply deduct the expense.  There are calculations described in several IRS Forms, Schedules, and Publications.  (2) It is a 10 step process which includes establishing the basis, adjusting for Fair Market Value, and on and on.  Generally, if your loss does not exceed 10 percent of your Adjusted Gross Income, you will not be able to claim the loss.

IRS ImageSo for those who have losses in the thousands from Hurricane Florence, they will probably be tapping IRA’s to cover the loss since most don’t have thousands sitting and available in bank accounts to cover disasters.  That would be a taxable event (withdrawal from IRA), more expense, NICE!

At the least, Congress and the IRS could forgive tax on IRA withdrawals to pay for losses from disasters.  Better yet, simplify the tax code so you could SIMPLY deduct the loss.

You and I probably won’t live to see that!!!

I would suggest that when a Congress Person uses the phrase, “in the best interest of my constituents”, It probably should be rephrased to, “in the best interest of my campaign donors and sponsors”.

***** S&E *****

Bringing the Group On board

(Mostly applicable to managers, supervisors, and leader’s assuming responsibility for a new department).

Here are some suggested talking points for the first meeting with employees; this should be an all hands meeting, open to questions at any time; discuss points to achieve understanding.

  1. I will not ask you to work harder than meLeadership
  2. Company values – expected to live within everyday work
  3. Our work directly affects others — quality, quantity, timeliness
  4. We are not a group of individuals doing work, we are a team
  5. The importance of objectives
  6. Performance reviews and pay for performance
  7. I will give you space to work and help you be successful
  8. It is my job to help you learn, advance you skills, provide development experiences
  9. It is my job to assist you with your career planning
  10. Work hard, be smart, be creative, be dependable, be responsible, and make a meaningful contribution.
  11. It is your job, you need to own it.
  12. When you are ready, I will assist with your promotion or lateral broadening experience
  13. If you are unsuccessful on the job, I will assist with your re-assignment
  14. When something goes wrong, 90% of the time it is usually poor communications
  15. My door will always be open

Some of the above will deserve separate meetings… luncheon meetings work well, particularly if the boss pays for the pizza.

***** S&E *****

Resistance Inside the Administration

If you have not read the “Op-Ed” article published by the NY Times on September 5th, you should.  Among all the chaos in  DC, I find it encouraging… or at least evidence of a balance within.  I am a half-full glass person. 

There is an ongoing search for the guilty associated with the writer.  I find it interesting that organizations like the KKK (why past disgusting and much worse) can exist, hiding behind the first amendment, but that amendment apparently, in the presidents mind, is not applicable this situation.

Here is the Times introduction to the article:

The Times is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers. We invite you to submit a question about the essay or our vetting process here.

Here is a link to the full article:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/opinion/trump-white-house-anonymous-resistance.html

***** S&E *****

 

 

 

Ready. Set. Jump !

There is no shortage of information out there regarding how hot the labor market is … possibly a good time to review what businesses might want to stress to candidates as early as possible in the recruiting process.  Consider sharing these, assuming they are “alive and well” within the company, with headhunters and on a website to get these key recruiting differentiators out there… they just might differentiate your business from the competition.

  • On boarding process (how long)
  • Development programs
  • Coaching and Mentoring
  • Career path counseling
  • High Potential process
  • International opportunity
  • Top Leader support for, and managers skilled in managing, these features of employment

“A” and “B” level leaders and managers skilled in the art of interviewing and passionately representing the company should be the picks for leading the recruiting charge. Timing is always an issue in a hot job market… Fortune, February 2018, the HR Leader for Intuit:  “We had to reinvent how we do recruiting, using a team of employees who have proved themselves sharp judges of talent…”

It is possible to get to a hiring decision and same day or next day offers with a good, pre-defined and vetted process.  Use a multi-functional team.  For example, same day:  Each team member interviews multiple candidates, the team meets at end of day (use a skilled facilitator) to discuss findings based on strengths, weaknesses, behavioral observations, skills, competencies (pre-defined factors which are aligned with the open position(s), and comes to hiring and offer decisions.  Properly planned, this process can manage as many 20 – 25 candidates in one day.

If the business is fortunate enough to have the budget for it, bring candidates in the night before interviews for an informal dinner and after dinner company update.  Seat one each of the next day interviewers at different dinner tables… interviewers will begin to form initial impressions. — all part of candidate assessment.

The whole process can be done at the same hotel.

*****S&E*****

Mentors

Why a mentor?

Having the guidance, encouragement and support of a trusted and experienced mentor can provide a broad range of personal and professional benefits, which ultimately lead to improved performance in the workplace or in outside personal life. Mentors should not be direct supervisors.  Direct supervisors should be coaches!

What to look for in a mentor:

  • Ability and experience
  • Willingness to spend the time
  • Approachability
  • A good listener
  • Honesty
  • Inquisitiveness
  • Objectivity and fairness
  • Compassion and genuineness

Advantages for Mentees

  • Work on developing a skill or competency
  • Improve confidence and an ability to execute a task, objective or project
  • Help improve listening and communication skills
  • Practice in accepting feedback from a consistent source
  • Practice building and maintaining a professional relationship
  • Expands networks and contacts

Advantages for Mentors

  • Strengthens active listening skills
  • Give back to the organization and community
  • Touch the future
  • Build contacts
  • Added sense of purpose and responsibility for one’s career

When do you need a mentor?

Seek help before known issues in your work or personal life, become a major issue.  Major issues are more difficult to repair so some foresight in regard to using a mentor can pay large dividends.

You may not need a mentor if you have your career path will managed, know where you are going, you are a great listener, observer, and very good at absorbing information and knowledge from skilled, respected leaders and coworkers at work and outside of work as well.

***** S&E *****

Scary Smart

The link below will take you to a Nat Geo, May 2018 article.  The issue is entitled “Genius” .  I always regarded Chem Engineers, for one, as scary smart.

Tweety n Smart

A good friend of mine earned a degree in Electrical Engineering and then a PhD in emergency medicine.  I had a boss who I worked with on and off, due to job changes,  for maybe 8 years or so, another Chem Engineer — had a huge corporate job spanning domestic and international leadership for a multinational corporation.  And I have an investment advisor how works for a highly successful firm, yep, a Chem Engineer.

All Scary smart !  And all great people !

Here is the link to the above referenced Nat Geo article …, yep, scary smart.

Mapping the Stars…

***** S&E *****

Log Entry No. 29: Dogs, Chickens and the Web

The Family Outcast (TFO) lives in a small mountain town in CO. with his mutt, “Orlo”.  Great place, many interesting dimensions to this small burg.  But this entry is not about the town, but TFO and his mutt.

The start of all this? One day out in the yard with his dog, Orlo, the mutt, decides to oft one of the neighbor’s designer chickens, yes, a designer chicken… he charges the bird; It was ugly, and the bird was pushing up daisies by the time TFO dragged his mutt off what remained of the chicken.  And, to even make it better, the owner of the bird witnessed dog-eating-drumstick_origthe murder.  The owner of the foul files a complaint with the local magistrate against the dog and TFO. So TFO has to make a court appearance, ha,  and ante up many bucks, ha, as well as accept a court order which restricts Orlo from the neighbor’s yard (and chickens).

TFO complained about his bad luck to the family… what is one man’s bad luck can be another man’s entertainment. The family thought it was hilarious!

Sometime later, TFO becomes a target to; let’s call them, “the boys”.  TFO was always a target!

After many libations and great stories, the designer chicken incident shows up in the story telling.  The boys decide that TFO needs chickens so a web search ensues to find a way.

The boys decide that TFO needs chickens so, on that same evening, a web search ensues and they, in a matter of minutes, find THE site. The writer cannot begin to describe the near disabling, gut wrenching, tears producing laughter that accompanied entering the order for chickens on the website.

In three days TFO’s postmaster in that small town dials his number and informs him that there is a package he needs to pick up.  TFO walks to the post office.  The postmaster presents him with a box with holes in it and a lot of peeping going on inside.  Yes, chickens for TFO !

TFO is furious, takes the box, and gives it to a nearby farm, and makes a number of calls searching for which one of “the boys” is responsible.  Everyone lies.

If you need chickens …   Here is the link:  https://www.efowl.com

TFO really isn’t a family outcast… we just keep telling him he is!

BTW, one of the interesting facts about that small mountain is that the Grammy’s (the actual statuette) are manufactured in the basement of an old but yet active downtown hotel.

A very interesting place to visit!

***** S&E *****