Articles filed under Columnists

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  • Throttle open on motorcycle technology Feb 24, 2015 2:20 PM
    The Progressive International Motorcycle Show was held last weekend in Rosemont and offered a warm retreat for enthusiasts to get caught up with the very latest in the two-wheeled motoring world. Two bikes that caught my eye were a 2014 Star Stryker and Project LiveWire, a Harley-Davidson concept e-bike.

  • Constable: Tooth Fairy payouts outperform stocks Feb 24, 2015 5:39 AM
    A new survey out of Oak Brook says the Tooth Fairy shelled out a record $255 million on baby teeth last year. But local kids don't make as much per tooth as kids in other states or Canada.

  • Rozner: Why are the Blackhawks so lifeless? Feb 23, 2015 1:07 PM
    The Blackhawks are a lifeless squad right now, very much stuck in the mud and looking like a team in desperate need of a trade after their 6-2 loss to Boston.

  • Learn to recognize and avoid triggers for tension headaches Feb 23, 2015 5:45 AM
    Q: I get tension headaches fairly often. What’s the best way to treat and prevent them?

  • From the food editor: Aurora grocer collects recipes for second edition cookbook Feb 23, 2015 11:18 AM
    Wondering how to make rabbit stew? Open up a copy of the newly minted second edition of “Prisco’s Family & Friends’ Cookbook.” The popular Aurora grocery store earlier this month released its new cookbook that features 329 recipes from more than 100 contributors. Not game for game? Try Baked Ziti with Sausage.

  • Family recipes struggle to go from kitchen to store Feb 23, 2015 1:00 AM
    Small Business Columnist Jim Kendall knows what it takes to get Grandma’s Pasta Sauce or Aunt Bertha’s cookies or whatever legendary recipe your family treasures — onto store shelves: Determination and money.

  • Neil Patrick Harris fills Oscars with class and cachet Feb 23, 2015 7:43 AM
    Sure, the Academy Awards show Sunday night was another predictably staid ocular orgy of self-promotion by Hollywood moviemakers. But it had class, clash and cache in spades. Who could stay seated after Lady Gaga belted out a superb rendition of selections from “The Sound of Music,” followed by the original singer Julie Andrews coming on stage to announce the best original score?

  • Imrem: Motor sports mayhem must remain a possibility Feb 22, 2015 7:47 PM
    NASCAR better not take too much of the danger out of races like the Daytona 500.

  • Gov. Rauner ‘resets’ Illinois Feb 22, 2015 1:00 AM
    Illinois Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno: “Dire circumstances call for drastic measures” — a sobering message that resonated throughout Illinois as Gov. Bruce Rauner offered his first budget blueprint.

  • Budget is inadequate, but it’s just the beginning Feb 22, 2015 1:00 AM
    Illinois Senate President John Cullerton: Now it begins. After two years of campaigning to lower taxes and increase spending, Bruce Rauner was mandated to do the math and show his work. Unfortunately, the numbers simply don’t add up.

  • Ring least important aspect of marriage Feb 22, 2015 1:00 AM
    Q. My boyfriend and I have been dating for five years now, and it’s been really great. It really seems like the natural progression to get engaged. How do I make sure he knows exactly what ring I want without taking the romance out of it?

  • Work Advice: When a staffer struggles with the English language Feb 22, 2015 7:30 AM
    Karla L. Miller writes an advice column on navigating the modern workplace. Each week she will answer one or two questions from readers.

  • Career Coach Q&A: Advice for your workplace conundrums Feb 22, 2015 7:30 AM
    Q: I recently started a huge pro-bono passion project that is basically my dream job (without pay). It totally relates to my current work, but also adds new skills. I feel inclined to list this position on my resume and LinkedIn in the regular “Work Experience” section instead of in the “Volunteer Work” section, because why does it matter than I’m not getting paid? It’s for a nonprofit cause I really care about, and it has already gotten a lot of recognition in the particular field it is in. Is it misleading/unfair/wrong to treat it as work experience instead of volunteer work? A: You could list it under Professional Experience since that covers anything you are doing. If you list it under Work Experience, you can describe it and then put in parentheses (volunteer). I think it is best to be accurate on a resume or profile. The key point of listing it is to describe your experiences gained from working on it, not to highlight whether you did or did not get paid for it. That is why I like the idea of listing it under a category of Professional Experience (if you can do this). Q: My boss: intelligent, cares about our customers, has great ideas, has a lot of drive. Is fiscally responsible. Is also judgmental, naggy, wants things yesterday then changes her mind, quick to criticize and slow to praise. I’m older than she is and have more supervisory experience, so I try to be helpful, but frankly resent that I’m prevented from doing my work because I have to do administrative stuff that she doesn’t get, or have to guide her through why treating people with empathy or compassion is a good business practice. How do I keep my career and sanity intact and do the “right thing” even when she’s making me nuts? A: This is interesting. Often in leadership we find ourselves having to provide guidance to higher-level managers to assist them. Why do it? You do it if you believe in the higher mission of enabling the company to do better and the employees and customers to have better experiences. It can be frustrating to help higher-level managers (since shouldn’t they know how to be great leaders we wonder), yet it is so important. Really good leaders surround themselves with people who can help them accomplish the group’s goals. You either help your leader so that the mission of the group (employees, customers) gets met, or you don’t and then you live through the bad leadership. It may not be fair, but it is very common. Maybe you or someone else can also counsel or advise the leader to get some executive coaching to enhance their poorer skills. Q: I’m out-processing from my federal job and a formal exit interview is not required. I plan to stop by and chat with a few supervisors on my last day. While there is a very low chance I would return to this job (main reason for leaving is a better commute), I don’t want to burn any bridges. I’m having trouble figuring out what, if any, feedback to provide to my bosses. Any suggestions? A: Great question. It is really valuable that you are willing to take the time to give them some feedback. I know many HR folks who really use this feedback to make improvements in the firm. I would suggest sharing your feedback with an HR manager more than an immediate boss. Unless of course you are particularly close to one of your supervisors and they ask for your thoughts. Then, you could share positive and constructive suggestions about things they might consider doing to enhance morale, productivity, etc. But, I would see if they actually ask for any feedback. I would also take that opportunity to thank them for their leadership and provide comments about things they are doing well too. Q: A co-worker feels the need to light up about every hour but only steps directly outside the door. Needless to say, the smoke drifts back into our small office. No one knows what reaction we may get if we try to speak to her about this. Any advice? A: While you may be uncomfortable speaking to her about this, someone needs to do it. She may just not be aware that this causes problems for anyone. The smoke does not bother her so she may not notice that it bothers others. I would just let her know that the smoke comes back in the office and ask if she can step further away. I would be direct rather than subtle about this since she needs to hear the message. She may be fine that you brought it up and may be happy to move further away. Sometimes you just have to ask. Q: I haven’t worked in five years and I’m afraid of doing a resume and going on an interview. A: There are a lot of people who can help you in this area. There are also plenty of resources if you want to first create a draft of your resume and practice some interview questions. The “Knock ‘em Dead” series of books has plenty of examples of resume, practice interview questions, cover letters, etc. The key is to start with a draft and then get someone to give you feedback so that you can practice. It is very important to do this before actually applying to jobs or going on “real” interviews. Q: I am currently in a temp job, finishing the contract after a nine-month assignment. I learned yesterday that a director who is not in my department had asked a co-worker in my department to spy on me to see if I was disrupting the work of one of the director’s underlings. My co-worker did spy on me and told me that they reported that I wasn’t disrupting anyone. Both these employees violated the respectful workplace policy in place. Do I just ignore this behavior or do I say something? A: This is rather unusual. I assume you feel that the co-worker told you the real truth about all this? I ask since this person could be “playing both sides” and I wonder if he or she is being accurate with you. Since you are leaving, you really do not want to burn any bridges. But, depending on your relationships with your higher-level managers and HR (if they have an HR person), you could bring this up to the HR person to see what they think about this. Or, if you have a good relationship with your boss, you could also bring this up with him/her (in a nice constructive way). I would hate for you to leave the firm thinking this happened, when it might not have been exactly as the co-worker said it was. In any event, it seems your direct boss should know about these types of behaviors and what is happening to his/her employees.

  • Rozner: “Miracle on Ice” memories still fresh today Feb 22, 2015 7:43 AM
    Sunday marks the anniversary of the greatest upset, greatest game and greatest sporting moment in American history, and the “Miracle on Ice” teammates will gather in Lake Placid to celebrate again.

  • Constable: From convent to Sisterhood of Honey Bears Feb 24, 2015 9:43 AM
    A reunion of the Honey Bears, who've been in hibernation from Chicago Bears games since Super Bowl XX, will raise money for a charity in Addison on Friday. Once on the path to be a nun, Wheaton's Cathy Core founded that group and directed the Luvabulls.

  • Does the new CFPB rate tool help people shop for a mortgage? Feb 21, 2015 12:00 AM
    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau deplores the fact that almost half of homebuyers it recently surveyed did not shop for a mortgage but dealt with a single loan provider. To encourage shopping, the agency has developed a “Check Interest Rate” tool. It advises borrowers: “As you start talking to lenders, compare their offers to the rates in the tool to see if you are getting a good deal.”

  • Process to fill a pending board vacancy can begin Feb 21, 2015 12:00 AM
    Q. You recently wrote about board member resignations. I have a related question. A board member of our association issued a written resignation. However, the resignation stated that it would be effective at a later date than was stated in the resignation. Even though the actual resignation does not take place until the future, can the board take steps now to appoint a person to fill the vacancy that will be created?

  • Spring starts early in real estate Feb 21, 2015 12:00 AM
    Q. My husband’s company has transferred him to Chicago. We decided I will stay here until the children are out of school in June. Is there any use in putting our house on the market this early? Can we tell buyers that we won’t be moving until June? What do people do in this situation?

  • On the road: Get fit by day at Bloomingdale's Biggest Loser Resort Feb 21, 2015 7:15 AM
    The Biggest Loser Resort in Bloomingdale introduces the Town Program, which allows locals to spend all day at the resort experiencing the program but return home each evening. Snowstorm Winter Music and Arts Festival is the cold weather answer to the Chicago music festival. Set indoors at Navy Pier, headliners like Moby, Trippy Turtle, The Hood Internet and ASTR warm things up on Saturday, March 7.

  • Chevy gasser becomes dear to both father and son Feb 23, 2015 11:31 AM
    The eighth annual Race and Performance Expo rolled back into St. Charles last weekend. A returning display was the Car Builder's Showcase, where area builders spotlighted their recent builds. It was here I heard the tale of Dave VerSchave's stunning tangerine 1955 Chevrolet gasser.

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