Help Offered for Kansas Producers  

Even at this time of year when American farm families are typically looking forward to planning for the new year, some are struggling. A spouse may have lost an off-farm job, a family member may not fully know his place in an operation and others have been hit by low prices for what they produce.

Stress, Depression: Know the Signs  

There is no denying that difficult times are upon us.

Dear Boss: Fast Learner, but Makes Mistakes

Q: We have a new coworker that has been with us for about three months, and he has been a really fast learner. However, a problem has surfaced because it seems like he misses some things, overlooks some details and occasionally doesn’t understand why we are doing each of the procedures.

Dear Boss: I’m Just the Trucker

Q: My job in this business is to haul pigs any place they need to go. Sometimes it’s close by, sometimes for a fairly long haul. The boss is always giving me a hard time about my driving, where I stop when I’m on the road and even how well I’m dressed.

Dear Boss: My Boss Changed Our Bonus

Q: We’ve had a production bonus program here for several years, and it was nice to have that extra money each month. Last year, the owners remodeled the farrowing house and nurseries — and then they changed the bonus program. Now, we have to have better numbers to get the same amount of bonus pay. How is this fair to us?”

Dear Boss: Too Many "Friends"

Q: My boss keeps telling me that I spend too much time on my cell phone during work hours, and if I keep it up she’s going to take it away from me. I have important things to talk to my friends and family about, so I need to keep my cell phone with me at all times. How can I get them to quit calling me so much?

Dear Boss: Personal Development

Q: There are four of us in this operation that have been department supervisors for several years. We really like our jobs, but there is very little chance for advancement since the top jobs are filled by people with much more experience, and they won’t be changing jobs any time soon. None of us wants to move to another company, but we would like to learn more about management, and our industry in general, for our own personal growth and development. The company says it is doing everything it can; so what else could we do?”

Dear Boss: Keeping it "Fair"

Q: I think I’m the only one here who does anything extra. I clean up after everyone else by sweeping the floors, taking out the trash, washing the laundry and clearing the break room counters — in addition to all my production jobs. I’m sick of this. How can we set up something that makes it fair?

Immigration: What to Expect From an Obama Administration

Don’t expect the Obama administration to be in a hurry to roll out its plans for comprehensive immigration reform.

Dear Boss: Dealing with Presenteeism

Q: Some of the people I work with don’t want to be here, but they don’t think they could find a job anywhere else so they just stay and do the bare minimum — just enough to keep their jobs. It frustrates the rest of us who really do care. What can we do to get them to take their jobs more seriously?

Dear Boss: An Odd Policy Statement

Q: Our boss just put together an employee handbook, and one of the things it says is, "No employee should ever talk directly to anyone from the media or to any government official about on-farm procedures, inventories, activities and so forth. Only the boss should handle these situations."

Dear Boss: In Over Our Heads

Q: The last year has been tough for us (employees) financially with the high prices for everything. When I talk to my boss about a raise, he just says, "Join the club." I guess he can’t pay us more simply because we need more, but isn’t there something he can do? All my credit cards are maxed out.

Dear Boss: We Need a Fireman

Q: My boss is always telling us that her whole job is about "putting out fires." However, when "fires" erupt that have to do with people, she tends to avoid the issue. How can we help her take these employee issues more seriously?

This Time, No-match Rule May Stick

Brace yourself for more government scrutiny of your workforce in the new year.

Does it Show at Work?  

A divorce, health concerns, a challenging child — personal problems — everyone has them. Some people are better at setting them aside when they’re on the job than others.