Sara Bogovich was formerly the senior editorial designer for Comstock’s magazine.
By this person
How the obstacles and allure of small-town startups impact rural innovation
As remote work continues to be normalized within the technology industry, techies are migrating to the Sierra Nevada foothills of Northern California. Several local tech entrepreneurs share their successes and hurdles.
Harnessing Psychedelics for Healing
A UC Davis chemist is developing drugs with all the therapeutic effects of psychedelic drugs — without the hallucinogenic trip.
Sexism Is Not Extinct: What It Looks Like and How to Respond
Overt sexism still happens in the workplace, and male colleagues can help combat it.
Will SB 826 Survive?
Last August’s law, SB 826, was in part the product of frustration. In 2013, one of its sponsors, Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, authored a resolution that urged all publicly held California corporations to ensure one-fifth of their board directors were women by the end of 2016. While adopted by both legislative chambers, the resolution carried no consequences. When the deadline rolled around, fewer than 20 percent of companies had actually hit the target, according to a Senate analysis.
Dilemma of the Month: Can I Quit While on Maternity Leave?
While on maternity leave, an opportunity for my dream job has come up, and they want someone immediately. The hiring manager said he was impressed with my resume and would hire me. Do I have to go back to work and then give two weeks’ notice, or can I just quit? I know this might not be ethical, but legally can they do anything to stop me?
Dilemma of The Month: How Employers Should Handle Dangerous Air Quality
What are employers expected to do for employees when the air quality is dangerous? Are we legally obligated to close when the air quality is so bad?
What’s in an Ad?
Businesses that truly seek to give back don’t rely on ad campaigns to effect change.
From Bot to Burger
What does restaurant automation mean in the Farm-to-Fork Capital?
Nationally, large restaurant chains are automating aspects of their service as a cost-saving mechanism. How is this trend playing out in the Capital Region?
Go Fund Yourself
When it comes to fostering and attracting innovative business, does the Capital Region have enough capital?
Does the Capital Region have enough capital? One expert estimates there is about a half billion in funding with only have of that invested. So how are local startups getting funded, and is the pool enough to draw more of them here?
The Doctor Is (Logged) In
The rise of telehealth targets rural patients and preventative medicine
Telehealth is on the rise throughout the Capital Region, with video visits that save patients and hospitals both time and money. But can it reach the patients who need it the most?
The Edtech Edge
Local edtech startups are less about disruption as they are about enhancing current models
Local edtech innovators aren’t trying to blow up traditional educational models. At a time when edtech funding models are on the decline, local founders are bootstrapping solutions to existing classroom needs.
Breaking Up is Hard to Do
For some families in commercial real estate, breaking up may be essential to succession
Before big-time Sacramento developer Mort Friedman passed away in 2012, he handed the keys of the family business to his son, Mark Friedman. The transition was relatively seamless. Mort’s other sons pursued careers outside the industry and in different cities.
Dilemma of the Month: Managing Seasonal Labor
Dilemma of the Month: My business is quite seasonal. We have work year round, but in the off-season we don’t need the same number of employees. It’s just not profitable to keep everyone on the payroll 12 months out of the year. Can I drop hours? Can I lay people off and rehire? Are there things that make one option better than the other?
Can ‘Cottage Cannabis’ Open Doors to Small Operators?
Cannabis microbusiness permits could give small operators a shot at success.
Dilemma of the Month: Low Salary Expectations
I’m a corporate recruiter. For candidates that progress to an HR phone screen, we ask their expected salary and share the range we have for the role. Is it appropriate to use someone’s low salary expectations as a reason for not moving forward? I’m concerned that a candidate who makes so much less won’t be a good fit. Is that the case?
The 5G Promise
Does Verizon’s 5G wireless network have the power to boost entrepreneurship in the Sacramento Region?
With the deployment of Verizon’s 5G wireless network on the horizon in 2018, some say Sacramento has the potential to become a lightning rod for tech. Is there truth to the hype?
Dilemma of the Month: Bias in Human Resources
You need to conduct an investigation, and it might be better to outsource something this sensitive
I am the CFO for a 90-plus person firm and the head of human resources reports to me. Several employees have told me they feel uncomfortable going to the HR manager with complaints or concerns, because she’s really good friends with some of the people here and they’re afraid she’ll be biased. What do you think?
As (Not) Seen on TV
Celebrity flipping seminars sell more myth than reality
I’m not here to throw anyone under the bus, but let’s talk about these seminars and the reality of flipping homes in Sacramento.
Unconscious Bias in Talent Reviews
Identifying stereotypes can help boost staff performance
In his 2005 book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking,” Malcolm Gladwell polled Fortune 500 companies and found that 30 percent of CEOs were 6 feet 2 inches or taller. In comparison, only 3.9 percent of the U.S. population are of that height.
Why? Unconscious bias.
Dilemma of the Month: Out-of-Office Socialization
Is after-hours employee fraternization between a co-founder and an intern inappropriate, or am I just being extra cautious?
Dilemma of the Month: Speaking Freely on Social Media
A client recently threatened to quit working with us after seeing politically-charged posts she deemed offensive on one of my account manager’s social media accounts. I’ve asked the employee not to let this happen again, but he countered that we have no policy in place (which is true), and furthermore, these are his personal accounts and he is entitled to free speech. How can I deal with this situation?
Dilemma of the Month: Asking About Health
What you need to know about the ADA and evaluating an applicant's health
I interviewed a job candidate who was severely overweight and had trouble walking. While the job is mostly a desk job (administrative assistant) the admins are expected to run things back and forth when needed. Could I have asked her about her health? I didn’t. I didn’t offer her the job, either, and now I’m feeling guilty. What should I have done?
Follow this checklist for onboarding a new team member
Tips for onboarding a new employee for maximum team cohesion.
Dilemma of the Month: Drug Testing New Hires
We drug test new hires at my company. When a potential employee’s test comes back positive it’s easy enough to rescind the offer, but we had a candidate have a test returned “negative but diluted” and we rescinded the offer. The candidate had already given two weeks’ notice at his current company and they won’t take him back. Did we do the right thing?
Seek Solutions by Seeking Empathy
The planning stage of our December issue typically starts with a conversation reviewing what we mean by “innovation.” Technology is often only part of it — a starting point, if that. Notable innovation hinges on better solutions to existing problems.
Looking Back and Looking Ahead
Navigating the freelance life into 2018
As we near the end of the year, you may find yourself checking in with your freelance business to take a look at what you’ve been up to and where you want to go in the coming New Year. (hashtag New Year Things.) Honestly, I find this time of year both inspiring and empowering when it comes to navigating the freelance life.
Dilemma of the Month: Snooping on Employee Email
I have an employee who hasn’t been performing well. Last week, she was out sick again and I needed a report. I tried to call her, but she didn’t answer. So, I asked IT if I could get the report from her email, and they gave me access to her inbox. I found the report, but curiosity overcame me, and I opened a few other emails. I feel totally guilty — I snooped. Is this legal? Is it moral? What do I do with this information?
Lock the Business Cookie Jar
What steps did you take in October’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month?
Did you make any progress during October’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month? Did you, as I like to say, lock your business’s cookie jar?
Is Your Mission Statement Gathering Dust?
Start anew by first thinking about the real reason your organization exists
Do your eyes roll when you hear the words “mission statement?” You are not alone.
Many of you work at organizations with a mission statement that is now gathering dust on a shelf, framed on a wall or, even worse, carved in stone above your portal. If the following sounds familiar, you’re in trouble:
The Right Fit
As the Sacramento region cultivates its tech reputation, both companies and potential recruits take notice
Sacramento may not have eBay or Google, but as scientific and high-tech companies gain a foothold in the region, many have discovered that being a smaller city with multiple higher education institutions attracts talent that rivals that of the Bay Area. When it comes to pitching to prospective employees — both locals and out of town recruits — Sacramento’s calm sells over the chaos of other cities.
An Easy Sell
Companies, both homegrown and new transplants, find success in the Capital Region
When it comes to finding business success in the Sacramento area, the proof, as they say, is in the proverbial pudding. The city’s proximity to the Bay Area, its lower cost of living and its people have long been lauded as assets to economic development. While that might seem like a tired line of thinking, Sacramento remains on the radar of both potential businesses and employees for exactly those reasons.
Artists, is Your ‘Personal Brand’ Eating Your Paycheck?
Making a career as an artist is rarely easy, sometimes impossible and usually totally worth it. Sometimes we catch a break and get to skip ahead more quickly than anticipated. Other times we have to put in (very) long hours. Here are a few pitfalls I’ve learned to avoid:
Leading May Not Be Easy, But Managing Is Harder
You need to know the difference between the two, so you can excel at your role
What exactly is the difference between a leader and a manager? We often use these terms interchangeably, but the skills necessary to be effective in these roles are quite different. One involves looking beyond day-to-day needs to see the big picture, while the other means focusing on the details. Both require a service toward others.
The House Raises
A look at four new developments tied to local casino operations
Gaming facilities across the capital region are booming with expansions and new construction. Here’s a look at four new developments tied to local casino operations.
The Forest Through the Pages
California is no stranger to devastating wildfires. But did you know that our famed sequoias actually need fire? It not only helps release seeds from their cones, but it also uncovers the soil in which those seeds can take root. Sometimes, destruction leads to rebirth.
Breaking the Habit
Toxic patterns abound in the workplace — but you can change them
As I write this, I am seated by the window on an airplane flying east. Taking off over Sacramento, acres and acres of green and brown agricultural fields come into view. Each block of squared-off land is juxtaposed against another, all cut into varying diagonals and straight lines, forming an intricate pattern of rich farmland.
Dilemma of the Month: Abruptly Made a Manager
Yesterday, I was an individual contributor who did technical work. This morning, a group of my coworkers and I found out that we are now expected to manage about 10 non-exempt staff each. Overnight! There’s no title change, no increase in salary — just added work and stress. We are told we have no choice and have to take on that extra work because the company’s success or failure depends on us. Can they just make us managers without asking? Do we have the right to turn down these positions?
Tiny Houses Offer One Solution for Housing the Homeless
Communities in the Capital Region are struggling with the increasing numbers of homeless in their streets and parks and have realized that the problem has to be addressed. Local programs help by providing meals and winter shelter. But the primary need is year-round, permanent supportive housing, because living in tents or on park benches is not a sustainable way of life.
Don’t Let Groupthink Rule Your Workplace
The best leaders encourage their team members to challenge questionable ideas and assumptions
Groupthink is all too common when people work together in a brainstorming or planning session. This phenomenon can veer a team or company off course, or it can result in people stereotyping others, including their colleagues — neither is good for a company.
Dilemma of the Month: Job Title Woes
I am an inside sales representative for a medical device company. I work hard to build relationships over the phone to sell and consult on products. When I was hired, the president specifically told me this was not a telemarketing job. Recently, I caught the president introducing our team as “the telemarketers.” Is this a sign I should go back to school asap or find another job?
Infographic: Parity In U.S. Higher Education Not Complete
Equal representation and closing the pay gap for women in academia remains an ongoing issue, as women represent an increasing student demographic at U.S. colleges and universities — but haven’t yet achieved parity as professors or administrators.
Visualize Your Strategy
How storyboarding can help your team create a strategic plan
Are you the kind of person who thinks in pictures? If so, then storyboarding is for you. Are you the kind of person who doesn’t think in terms of pictures? If so, then storyboarding is for you, too — you may just not know it yet.
Infographic:Your Body on Good Food
Want to help your heart and brain? Eat better
With Baby boomers aging, nutrition experts urge healthy eating habits to ward off memory and cognitive loss, and keep the heart healthy.
Startup of the Month: Text to Ticket
With traffic safety app, citizens earn cash targeting distracted drivers
If you’re texting and driving, Sarah Morell might be recording you. She’s usually riding shotgun, as her husband drives, with her camera phone, ready to catch traffic safety violators on video. Her 6-year-old daughter’s in on the action too.
Dilemma of the Month: Getting People To Give Notice
We service clients who are kids in the foster care system. We really value when our employees that resign give at least a three-weeks’ notice, so they can transition their clients — kids who have already had upheaval in their lives — to their team members before they leave. Is there any meat that we can put on the bones of a policy requiring a three-week notice, with some type of consequence for not providing this notice?
Freelance Life: Your Guide to Tax Deductions
Get the ultimate tax ROI as a self-employed freelancer
Here are 10 qualified tax deductions to consider as you power through tax season … and to ensure you get ultimate tax ROI as the hard-working, self-employed freelancer that you are.
Ask Yourself: What’s Your Why?
Finding our purpose in life will make us better leaders
If you don’t think about your reasons, if you don’t make plans for yourself, someone else is most assuredly waiting in the wings to make a plan for you. You can count on it.
Infographic: Young Professionals are Taking Over the Work Place
Millennials have officially surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest living generation in the U.S. It won’t be long until they affect what the workplace looks like too.
Infographic: California Tackles Greenhouse Gases
As greenhouse gas emissions decline in California due to AB 32, a recent report shows the state’s tough approach to tacking climate change has been embraced by most Californians.
Dilemma of the Month: My Boss Gossips
My boss is a gossiper. I’ve worked at this company for two years.The first year it wasn’t bad, but she gradually started to say negative things to me about my colleague. As I started to hear more, I couldn’t handle it. I told HR the truth and was advised to speak with my boss’s immediate boss. Our team includes only four people, and I feel my boss will know who complained.